– Region’s first-of-its-kind startup programme offers services worth AED550,000 from DSOA’s partners
– Programme is aligned with Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan to position DSO as a knowledge and innovation hub
Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) today launched SANDBOX, the region’s first-of-its-kind startup programme to support early-stage technology startups scale and raise funds. The 12-month programme aligns with the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which positions Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) as a science, technology and knowledge hub that drives innovation, digital economy development and talent generation.
DSOA announced the programme at the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (Dtec) stand at the GITEX Future Starts, the biggest tech-focused start-up event in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
The launch of SANDBOX coincides with the newly announced Projects of the 50, initiated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The Projects will lay foundations for a new development cycle in the UAE across all economic and investment sectors in the next 50 years.
The programme – run by the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus, DSOA’s wholly owned tech hub and coworking space, and the largest of its kind in the MENA region – is open to early-stage startups from MVP to seed stage, with a rolling application process. Enrolled entrepreneurs will follow a structured curriculum inclusive of theoretical and practical workshops, mentorship sessions and networking opportunities that will help them grow their startups. Dtec has dedicated a funding purse to be invested in promising startups of the programme. Furthermore, SANDBOX will focus on wellbeing, work-life balance and human performance.
Recognising the significance of supporting startups in their early stages, Dtec is offering SANDBOX participants exclusive company setup rates, equivalent to AED9,500. Designed and structured around delivering timely, relevant and tangible value to founders, based on their needs and requirements, the programme will provide each participant access to leading venture capital funds, and broad services provided by DSOA’s partners worth more than AED550,000.
SANDBOX is built on six key pillars: product development, traction, scaling, financial diagnostics, wellbeing and legal support. It also adopts KPI-driven sprints with founders being highly accountable, while creating a vibrant community for emerging entrepreneurs, and hosting expert speakers and professionals.
Startups enrolled in the programme will benefit from 200+ hours of practical workshops and 100+ hours of one-on-one mentorship from practitioners and field-experts. Entrepreneurs will also have access to a full suite of diagnostic tools for financial efficiency and legal compliance, ensuring they maintain a strong position that allows them to attract necessary investments and funds. With the backing of Dtec Ventures, SANDBOX builds on the existing vibrant community of emerging entrepreneurs in MENA’s largest tech hub, Dtec.
A Destination for Entrepreneurs and Investors
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Vice Chairman and CEO of DSOA, said: “Providing a comprehensive ecosystem for investments and an enabling incubator for entrepreneurs and startups in Dubai is an essential component of DSOA’s strategy, in line with its position as a hub for innovation and knowledge within the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan. The launch of the SANDBOX startup programme coincides with the Projects of the 50, a strategic set of initiatives that will lay the foundations for a new development cycle in various economic sectors. All these projects position the nation as a destination for talents, skilled individuals, entrepreneurs, startup founders, innovators and investors.”
Al Zarooni added: “Dubai Silicon Oasis, and its wholly owned Dtec, have extensive experience as a tech hub and an incubator for entrepreneurs and startups, supporting them in transforming their innovative ideas into reality and empowering them in securing financing. The programme is the first of its kind in the region, founder-centric, addressing a gap in early-stage initiatives. It will help position Dubai and the wider UAE as a global destination for promising entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as investors.”
Largest Hub of its Kind in the Region
Dtec offers coworking spaces, business accelerators, R&D facilities, event spaces and digital business setup support including licensing. It houses more than 1,000 startups from 75 countries. Through the centre, DSOA supports entrepreneurs, startups and innovators, especially those that operate in the technology, artificial intelligence and digitalisation spheres.
For more information on SANDBOX and to apply, please visit: https://sandbox.dtec.ae.