New Islamic start-up incubator launched in Dubai

Goodforce Labs will seek to help Islamic small and medium enterprises to reach $50m in annual revenues and a “measurable social impact”.



Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has partnered with Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre and venture firm Technolera to launch a new start-up incubator focussed on ethical practices in the Islamic and halal industries.

Goodforce Labs is being launched as part of the UAE’s Innovation Month and will seek to help Islamic small and medium enterprises to reach $50m in annual revenues and a “measurable social impact”.

It will help start-ups to start, manage and develop their businesses into social impact driven companies while providing support in areas including design, marketing, operations management and technology.

DAFZA said there are more than 2,500 companies in the ethical Islamic lifestyle market but many struggle to grow and survive.

Read: The importance of start-ups to the halal economy

“This incubator will be pivotal in supporting Islamic industries, developing the Halal sector, and spreading the Islamic lifestyle which encompasses culture, arts, and family tourism around the world,” said DAFZA assistant director general Nassar Al Madani.

Start-ups that have signed up to the incubator so far include handicraft e-commerce platform Growmada, cloud-based charitable endowment manager Waqf 2.0, disciplined entertainment product specialist Zileej and modest women’s clothing firm Rabia Z.

Financial literary firm iWealth and halal food e-learning platform Smart Halal are among the other entrants.

Research and advisory firm DinarStandard’s CEO and managing director, Rafi-uddin Shikoh, has been appointed the director of the incubator, which will also be led by an advisory committee.

The commitee includes DAFZA Innovation and Future Unit’s Amna Lootah, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre’s deputy CEO Abdulla Al Awar, Goodforce Labs director Shikoh, investment specialist Amir Nicholas Lodge, Fajr Capital founder Aamir Rehman and strategy and innovation accelerator Sayd Farook.

Consumer spending in halal food, fashion, tourism, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, media and recreation totalled $2.1 trillion in 2016, according to a report produced by Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.

Global Impact Investing Network estimates that was $22bn invested in impact assets in the same year.

Read: The halal economy reaches new heights