Aviation and Travel Tech Incubator Takes Off in the UAE
Dubai’s commercial rise began on the water, but there’s no question its present and future are tied to the skies. Dubai International Airport (DXB) is already the world’s busiest for passenger traffic, and the aviation and travel sectors are contributing not only to tourism and business, but also to Dubai’s world-renowned trade and logistics services.
Already, aviation plays a significant, outsized role in the local economy. According to a study by the Emirates Group, with every US$100 of activity in the aviation sector in Dubai, a further US$72 is added in other sectors of the local economy through supply chain connections and expenditures. In addition, for every 100 jobs created in aviation, an additional 116 jobs are created elsewhere in the Dubai marketplace.
To further boost this vital sector, the Emirates Group, along with co-founders GE and Etisalat, are launching a start-up incubator in the aviation travel-technology field for young entrepreneurs and university students in the UAE.
Called “Intelak,” which means “taking off” in Arabic, the initiative also will contribute to the country’s innovation ecosystem and help develop local talent in high-tech fields. Structured as a competition, the program is open to Emirati-led teams of 3-5 people who propose innovative ideas that will make air travel simpler, better or more exciting at any point along the travel experience – from the moment you leave home through the airport experience to flying in the aircraft. Visit Intelak.com to pick a travel moment, and submit your idea.
Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer for GE in the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, said of the incubator, “GE has first-hand experience in fostering innovation and innovation management, and is already collaborating on a number of initiatives in the UAE to foster innovation in the country. So we are pleased to partner with the Emirates Group and Etisalat to provide an exciting platform for local entrepreneurs and university students to contribute to the further development of UAE-led excellence in travel, aviation services, systems, and experiences.
Designed to run on an ongoing basis, each new incubator cycle will last approximately six months.
Idea submissions for Intelak’s inaugural class can be made online at Intelak.com between September 6 and October 31. Projects will be judged based on creativity, innovation, feasibility, and scalability. The top 20 teams will be enrolled in an intensive two-week boot camp with workshops teaching courses on design thinking, financial modeling, marketing, and pitching to investors. This period will culminate in a “pitch day, “at the end of which, four teams will be chosen as winners.
The four winning teams will each receive a cash prize of AED 50,000, to be distributed at key milestones, and will be enrolled in the Intelak incubator training program, a three-month long course located at the Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (DTEC) in Dubai Silicon Oasis. With more than 400 startups from 59 nationalities DTEC is at the heart of the startup ecosystem in Dubai and the wider MENA region.
At the conclusion of the program, the winning teams will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to angel investors and venture capital firms for potential further collaboration or investment. As well, team members will have potential co-creation opportunities with the Emirates Group, GE, and Etisalat.
The program will provide structured learning modules, mentors, and office hours to support the continued development of each team’s idea. Teams retain copyright of their ideas throughout the entire program.
The Emirates Group, GE and Etisalat will raise awareness of the competition at universities, incubators, entrepreneurial centers, and co-working spaces.
If you have a clever idea in the aviation-travel technology space that would make a journey simpler, better, or more exciting, or you know someone who does, visit Intelak.com to submit your application.