Abu Dhabi’s tourism department, Yas Island developer Miral, airline Etihad and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) have partnered with mentor platform Wamda to launch a new start-up accelerator.
Fikra Labs aims to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the Abu Dhabi travel and tourism sector and will provide star-ups with mentorship and the chance to win a monetary investment.
The acceleration programme at Etihad Innovation Centre will span multiple phases and is open to new companies across the Middle East and North Africa.
After initial registration and screening, participants will take part in a four-week incubation process to tackle travel and tourism challenges set by the Abu Dhabi partners.
They will then develop prototypes in partnership with industry experts and the Abu Dhabi travel and tourism companies.
Each partner will select one winner to work with directly after the programme. This will open up the potential of a $100,000 investment and a licence in free zone Abu Dhabi Global Market.
“In a rapidly evolving sector like tourism, it is imperative that we diversify our resources to develop and grow the emirate’s tourism credentials and keep abreast with the constant changes and new developments in our industry,” said minister of culture and knowledge development and chairwoman of ADNEC Noura Al Kaabi.
“We look forward to working with Fikra’s creative minds and their ground-breaking ideas to address many pressing challenges faced by our industry and turn them into opportunities.”
All applications will be received by a screening committee with members from each company and scored according to pre-established judging criteria and metrics.
Applicants with the highest scores will be invited for a 30-minute interview before 32 are selected to join a two-day mini boot camp.
After this this they will pitch their ideas to the committee, who will choose 12 final teams for the four-week incubation process.
On the final day of the programme finalists will attend working sessions to finalise their prototypes and presentations before pitching to a jury and participating in a Q&A session.
This will be followed by an awards ceremony for the four winners.
Registration closes on March 5.
Abu Dhabi recently introduced an incentive programme for events organisers to boost its calendar.