This article is part of the series called Startup Hatch, about incubators and accelerators in the startup ecosystem.
Abu Dhabi University will launch a facility for start-up companies next year as part of a broad to turn its graduates into entrepreneurs.The new centre will be the second phase of a long-term plan to turn the university into an integrated research park, business incubator and investor that can commercialise the work of its students and faculty, the university’s chancellor, Dr Nabil Ibrahim, said.
“Universities can make a very significant contribution to the development of entrepreneurship in this region because our students are the entrepreneurs of the future,” Dr Ibrahim said.
He said the incubator would focus on building small companies that targeted energy, healthcare technology and water markets. It would also take an interest in microelectronics, an industry expected to grow in the emirate as plans emerge to build a multibillion-dollar semiconductor fabrication plant.
Yesterday, at the Abu Dhabi Forum on Entrepreneurship sponsored by the Abu Dhabi university, officials gave a more detailed outline of how the facility would work, saying it had modelled the system on innovation centres in the US, Scandinavia and Singapore.
Starting this year, the university will enter an initial “proof of concept” phase where it raises awareness of entrepreneurship among its students through lectures, workshops, conferences and business plan competitions. Graduates of this process who develop strong concepts for new companies will be offered places at the incubator, Dr Ibrahim said.
Such centres typically provide fledgling companies with office space and support services, as well as advice and mentorship.
In Jordan, the iPark incubator has created 18 successful new technology companies over the past six years and generated more than 600 skilled jobs, at a cost of less than US$1,000 (Dh3,673) a job, its director, Wissam Rabadi said.
After opening the incubator, Abu Dhabi University plans to turn to a larger project: converting a 20-hectare plot on its campus into an innovation park for more established businesses.