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  • Writer's pictureSotirios Seridis

Top 25 Startup Accelerators & Incubators in Dubai


Are you thinking of executing your idea into a startup? Or are you a startup beginning to prepare for scale? Whatever stage you may be in, developing a startup can be challenging and costly. A startup incubator or accelerator in Dubai can help you navigate through the tough waters you are entering.


From developing your ideas, and pitching your products, to expanding in international markets, a startup incubator or accelerator will provide you with all the necessary knowledge and resources - so you don’t have to start from 0!

We have compiled a comprehensive list of Dubai’s startup incubators and accelerators fit for companies in various sectors below. Whether you’re in the ‘launch’ or ‘growth’ stage, you will indeed find an accelerator that will help you skyrocket your success in the MENA region!







accelerators and incubators in Dubai
accelerators and incubators in Dubai

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STARTUP INCUBATOR AND ACCELERATOR?

Startup incubators and accelerators tend to be understood and used interchangeably - as they both provide mentorship, business support, and pitching opportunities. However, incubators and accelerators serve companies at different stages, for different purposes, and with different outcomes.

An incubator focuses on early-stage founders in the process of developing and refining their ideas. The goal of incubators is to stimulate innovation of disruptive ideas, so they primarily focus on creating an environment of inspiration, support, and collaboration. Startups that join an incubator are usually still looking for their founding team and have no set business model, so they leverage incubators to build their startup from the ground up.

An accelerator is geared toward existing startups with a team that has developed their minimum viable product and established product-market fit. Startups that join an accelerator are looking to grow and scale, and they will work with experienced mentors to smoothen and fast-track the learning process. They can also leverage the connections that accelerators have to business partners and investors for expansion and funding.

If you are thinking of applying to an incubator or accelerator, you may want to consider a few aspects:


  1. What stage are you in? If you’re a founder still in the ideation phase and trying to establish a team, an incubator would be a better option. If you have got a team and a validated business idea, an accelerator will help you scale.

  2. What are you looking for? If you’re looking for more guidance, an incubator would be the right place. If you’re in need of capital investment, an accelerator will give you more chances of getting funding.

  3. Do you have the time to dedicate? Incubators tend to be more open-ended and will support business over an extended period, whereas accelerators have a specific timeline that aims to help you scale rapidly within months.






FULL LIST OF STARTUP INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS IN DUBAI



Launch Stage Startup Incubators in Dubai


You’ve got the idea, you’ve tested your products, and now you’re looking to launch, but where do you start? This is where an experienced partner can step in to help you test your solutions, find a suitable business model, and reach the right audiences. Listed below is a collection of incubators and accelerators, so you can find a program that fits your needs.


The complete list of launch phase incubators in Dubai:



Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF)

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Tech, Education, Clean Energy, Water, Transport, Health, Space

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


The Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) is a federal initiative launched by the Ministry of Finance and is operated by Emirates Development Bank. Since its launch in 2016, the MBRIF has supported innovators through its first program, the Guarantee Scheme, which offers members access to affordable funding through a government-backed guarantee and without taking equity.


The MBRIF’s second program, the MBRIF Accelerator, was launched in December 2018. Aligned with the UAE National Innovation Strategy, the initiative aims to enhance the growth potential of innovative businesses shaping the future of UAE’s economy. The MBRIF Accelerator offers world-class services and coaching to member companies to accelerate their business, elevate capabilities, unlock value, and achieve scale.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: 1 year

  • Application Link


SANDBOX by Dtec is a 12-month startup accelerator program for early-stage tech ventures to jumpstart their businesses. Located in Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dtec fosters an entrepreneurial technology and innovation ecosystem, with a comprehensive curriculum built around six key pillars designed to help you get started in Dubai.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team / Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Deep Technology

  • Duration: 2 years

  • Application Link


Enabled by District2020, Scale2Dubai is a startup launchpad for smart, technology-enabled ventures. They provide comprehensive business setup support from visa, working space, to subsidised living, so you can help build a thriving sustainable urban community in Dubai.


  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea & seeking cofounders / Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Retail

  • Duration: 1 year

  • Application Link


Powered by the Co Dubai and approved by Dubai SME, the Retail Accelerator Program specifically supports retail startups to launch in Dubai. With access to a trading license, marketplace networks, shipping and storage facilities, online payment gateway and educational programs, the Co Dubai provides you with everything you need to start selling your products quickly.




  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs without an idea / Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: No

  • Focus: Sustainability

  • Duration: 3-12 months

  • Application Link


Located in The Sustainable City, Bedayat is a sustainable startup incubator certified by Dubai SME. They offer services tailored to specific stages with flexible packages, so you can choose what suits your startup needs. They also pride themselves in their living lab, where you can utilise their facilities for research and experiments.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Retail (Luxury)

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


TALG, standing for The Arabian Luxury Group, incubates and accelerates emerging fashion brands to create the first Middle East luxury retail base. Their portfolio consists of various lifestyle brands associated with notable names such as Galleries Lafayette and Bazaar.


  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: Flexible

  • Application Link


As its name suggests, Faster Capital offers a program to assist tech startups in the capacity of technical cofounder. They will help you with complete technical development - building prototype, MVP, software, app and website from scratch. They will also cover 50% of the costs in exchange for equity.




  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 6 months

  • Application Link

Faster Capital Idea to Product program will do exactly what it says - they will bring your business from the idea stage to investment-ready stage. They will assist you in conducting market study, preparing a pitch deck, building a business model, and matching with investors and mentors.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Aviation, Travel, Tourism

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Application Link

Intelak runs a 3-month program for early-stage aviation, travel and tourism startups to launch. With principal partners such as Emirates, Accenture and Dubai Economy and Tourism, you will receive expert guidance, connection, and feasibility assessments. You will also receive a travel grant of USD2500 and investment up to USD10000 equity-free.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Fintech

  • Duration: 2 months

  • Application Link

Fintech startups can apply to DIFC Accelerator Program to get an opportunity to match with strategic partners in the Middle East. They will guide you to build proof-of-concept with access to a regulatory sandbox, culminating in an investor day. Best of all, it's equity-free!




  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link

Turn8 looks for startups with disruptive technologies to co-create solutions together. They will help you build and test products with in-depth fundamental research so you can acquire your first customers.


  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology, Media, Design

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


In5 is a startup enabling platform servicing tech, media, and design ventures. They have fully equipped labs, studios, and equipment so you can easily produce prototypes, software, apparel, and anything else you might need.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology (Smart City)

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Application Link

Startupbootcamp Smart City Dubai is an intensive 3-month program for startups developing technologies for smart living. You will learn from expert-led masterclasses, obtain connections and perks from partners, a free co-working space, and EUR15,000 cash for living expenses. You will also benefit from their continuous alumni growth support post-program.




  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea & seeking cofounders / Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: No

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 4 months

  • Application Link

Emphasising the founders' qualities, Wamda X is a grant-based fellowship program that focuses on building a relationship between startups and mentors. They want to cofound a startup with you in your earliest stages and be your first and continuous financiers through Wamda Capital.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 10 weeks

  • Application Link


Dubai Future Accelerators run a unique program whereby you can apply to work on specific prespecified challenges by government partners. If you are shortlisted, you will join a 6-week in-residence program where you will collaborate with private entities and top-level government.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link

If you are looking for support in commencing business operations and accessing the market in MENA region, you should consider joining the Ztartup Business Incubator program. They will help you set up everything you need for your startup; from trade license, bank accounts, visa processing, and more!




  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Retail (Beauty)

  • Duration: 4 months

  • Application Link

The Beauty Lab by Chalhoub Greenhouse focuses on developing emerging beauty & wellness brands at their early stage. You will go through a 4-month testing phase, receiving a $15,000 budget for testing and content creation, which ends with demos to retailers, distributors and investors.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Humanitarian

  • Duration: 10 weeks

  • Application Link

Humanitarian Accelerators involve dynamic challenges focused on technologies to tackle humanitarian initiatives - such as social, cultural, and environmental issues. This 10-week program runs alongside Dubai Future Accelerators.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link

Innovest utilises a value creation model for startups to grow sustainably. Their service involves capital support, governance blueprint, shared spaces and services, and access to Middle East regions - customised to your needs.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 14 weeks

  • Application Link

As the world's first government accelerator, the program runs an intensive 100–day challenge to create impact. You will work with both government and non-government sectors to address challenges, set and achieve goals, and sustain and scale results.




  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Retail (Luxury)

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Application Link

Dubai Future Foundation is a platform aiming to drive the future in Dubai. They will encourage and support you to imagine, design and execute your vision. Their accelerator program involves a problem statement, stakeholder mapping, and solution creation for and with public and private sector partners.



Growth Stage Accelerators in Dubai


You’ve got a product, you’ve validated your business model, and you’ve even gotten a few customers with some recurring revenue - now you are ready for growth. Let’s take your business farther and bigger by joining a startup accelerator. It is only upwards and onwards to profitability from here!


The complete list of growth stage accelerators in Dubai:



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team / Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: Flexible

  • Application Link

Acting as your business development partner, Faster Capital's Grow Your Startup program will aid in your scaling strategies. They will advise you on customer base expansion, internalisation and entering new markets, finding partners, marketing campaign improvements, and other business development services. They will also cover 50% of the costs in exchange for equity.



  • Who is it for: Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Aviation, Travel, Tourism

  • Duration: 2 months

  • Application Link

Intelak runs an 8-week accelerator program for startups in the aviation, travel and tourism industry. You can leverage their vast network of partners and alumni as well as exposure in prestigious events to expand in Dubai. They also offer scaling opportunities with potential for city-wide implementation for selected startups.


  • Who is it for: Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 3-6 months

  • Application Link

Innoway is an innovation consultancy that offers mentorship and investment opportunity for startups. They adopt multiple methodologies to help you identify your users' needs and solutions, refine your products and services, speed up your innovation journey, and validate your business hypothesis.




  • Who is it for: Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


Ztartup Accelerator will help your company achieve business growth in the MENA region with further acceleration. They will help you to identify and break into new markets and segments, as well as release new products or services, depending on your requirement.


  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team / Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Retail

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Application Link

Chalhoub Greenhouse runs an equity-free accelerator program for startups with proven technology-driven retail solutions. You will get the chance to be matched with corporate sponsors to implement proof-of-concept with potential for future commercial agreements. The program is carried out through pilots and case studies, with insights and real-life business challenges shared by industry leaders.


Final Thoughts on Joining a Startup Accelerator or Incubator in Dubai


Establishing and managing a startup is no easy feat. From those just starting out to the ones ready for expansion, having guidance to maneuver through the complicated processes is crucial. Having the right support from experienced partners can determine whether your business will stay afloat and rise or drown. So if you’re aiming to make huge strides, a startup incubator and accelerator in Dubai can be the ones to show you the way.






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