i360accelerator, a 60-day innovation acceleration and seed funding programme from i360hub, is currently seeking participants for its inaugural session, scheduled to begin in November 2012. In addition to offering participants a creative place to meet and work, i360accelerator provides training on entrepreneurship and innovation, mentorship from regional business experts, and 70,000 AED in seed funding.
The programme is the brain child of Kamal Hassan, founder of Innovation 360, a global innovation consulting firm, and co-founder of Innovation Machine, the event facilitator behind several regional Startup Weekend events.
“Our goal with i360accelerator is to bridge the gap between innovative ideas and commercialisation in the Middle East. There are many creative people here with great ideas, but most ideas never launch because people don’t have early funding, they don’t know how to form a team, and they don’t have any experience in building or running a business. i360accelerator will help them overcome these obstacles, and turn their ideas into business ventures,” said Kamal Hassan, Founder and CEO of Innovation 360.
Hassan hopes to host several i360accelerator sessions per year, with the first session beginning in November in Dubai and additional sessions in 2013 for Abu Dhabi, Beirut and Amman. The theme of the November session will focus on “Digital Technologies for Customer Experience,” which received 38% of the vote during a recent online competition where people were invited to vote for the theme of the first accelerator session.
Other themes in the contest included Mobility and Healthcare (22% of the vote); “Disruptive Social Change through Technologies” (18%); Future Transportation and Logistics Technologies (12%); and Emission Trading Technologies (10%).
To apply for admission to i360accelerator, innovators, young entrepreneurs, researchers and others with a business idea must attend a one-day “Innov-a-thon” event and pitch their idea to the audience. The best ideas selected by the event attendees can be nominated for i360accelerator and will potentially win their share of a 3500 AED prize. Innov-a-thon events are scheduled for 8th September and 20th October in Dubai.
Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.