Long known as a regional leader in arts and culture, the Emirate of Sharjah is now paving the way to becoming a hub for small businesses and startups.
New initiatives like the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa) is contributing to the mentoring of entrepreneurs as well as promoting the Emirate’s sustainable economic growth.
As the first couple of startups begin to embrace the city as a platform for growth, we present you with some of the outstanding examples that have succeeded and made it through the UAE’s commercial world.
Providing healthy nutritious meals to young students across the country, Slices is another startup that is driven by a good cause, preparing the meals directly from the schools’ kitchens.
In addition, the company runs programs aimed at teaching children about the benefit of wholesome eating and leading healthy lives.
Such initiatives are crucial, considering the recent increase of lifestyle diseases in the UAE, such as diabetes and obesity. It also helps counter the impact of the increasing popularity of fast food chains, which primarily target children.
Rise is the world's first growth-management platform aiming to help more than 60 million female migrants develop professionally and financially.
The social startup helps migrants based in the UAE and aims to assist in managing their finances, learn new skills to expand their resumes, and progress beyond their current job roles.
The platform also enables employers to assess their hires, manage salaries, and offer training for their workers through Rise’s course offerings.
You have most likely heard about this one before. Savarin supplies numerous cafes and restaurants, including Freedom Pizza, with delicious desserts.
The startup uniquely combines health and pleasure as it only uses the finest of ingredients with everything being made in-house, from scratch, with less refined sugars.
4. The Modist
With the prevalence of western clothing shops around the UAE, fashion for hijabis and modest women is becoming harder to find.
However, startups like the online platform The Modist make the task of finding the suitable outfit extremely easy.
Operating between the UK and UAE by founder Ghizlan Guenez, the business has a global distribution network and is shipping to over 120 countries.
This startup stands out as it offers healthcare products.
SouKare is a tech startup that enables customers to purchase contact lenses and fitness products online. One of its unique features is that it delivers the purchased items to your doorstep within 90 minutes.
Not only does Asm3ni make Arabic books more available - something of a rarity these days - it also offers them in audio format.
Asm3ni, meaning 'listen to me' in Arabic, is an online platform for Arabic audiobooks. The business also publishes the work of emerging authors through their website.
7. Meet the Locals
With the growing popularity - and profitability - of tourism, young locals around the world started getting into the business of guided tours, a phenomenon that has reached the UAE.
The startup Meet the Locals consists of a team of Emirati volunteers and tour guides who offer expats and tourists the opportunity to experience Emirati culture.
8. Monda Gallery
Monda is another startup that adds variety to our list.
The art gallery features original Middle Eastern and Asian artworks in a variety of formats, including photographs, paintings, and digital prints.
With a range of prices, the platform caters to both homes and businesses.
ProTenders is a startup that offers a construction and intelligence platform for contractors and developers to find partners.
Through the platform, they can also learn about the various projects and showcase their own work.
10. The Tempest
The Tempest is a media company aimed at building, amplifying and connecting innovative products and experiences for diverse millennial women.
It was launched in March 2016 and is now reaching millions of millennials on a monthly basis.
Combining user-generated content, original video and audio, and a custom-designed backend, The Tempest aims to disrupt traditional media models and put the power in the hands of diverse millennial women to own their stories and define global conversations.