Sharjah has been lending a lot of support to entrepreneurs looking to launch their startups in the emirate.
By creating the right environment for prospects through initiatives like the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), the city intends to build a strong, sustainable economy.
Here are just a few of the perks Sharjah can offer:
1. Get the initial push
While coming up with an idea for your business is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges you are likely to face as an entrepreneur, it's always nice to know that other obstacles can be taken care of for you.
This is why Sheraa offers its graduates a free trade license is valid for a full year. This could make a huge difference, given that the majority of new businesses are not likely to make an enormous profit during their first year of operation.
2. Sufficient co-working space
Sheraa launched its facilities about a year ago at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) which spans over 650 square meters.
Built to foster creativity and collaboration, the co-working space includes an in-house cafe, a seminar room, a meeting room, a maker space, an amphitheater and dedicated workspaces for entrepreneurs in the Sheraa programs.
3. Strategic partnerships
Strategically headquartered at the AUS campus, Sheraa has been set up to facilitate partnerships that help prospective entrepreneurs with their businesses and potential clients.
Some of the partnerships that have already been established include academic partners such as universities, colleges, research centers, students, alumni, and faculty as well as government entities and critical players among the business sector and investors.
4. Find the right mentors
When taking a big step, like launching your own business, having the right mentors who can show you the path to success is critical. With this realization, the emirate of Sharjah made sure to provide this key element to all prospect entrepreneurs in order for the initiative to succeed.
“Our long-term vision for Sheraa is to promote the culture of innovation in entrepreneurship among young people by guiding them through the process of ideation, implementation, development, and continuity,” said Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the chairwoman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority and the mastermind behind Sheraa.
“We want to motivate the younger generation in the world of business and investment and help them reach new heights in this field. We want to transform Sharjah into an influential entrepreneurial destination where people come to drive their ideas into reality,” she added.
5. Get plenty of funding
In the world of business, finding the right investor and support is crucial. An innovative idea is important, but it can never breathe life without funding.
Earlier this year several companies received a total amount of 3 million dirhams ($816,726.57) in funds from various Sharjah-based corporations to help the entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into sustainable businesses.
6. Compete with the best
Startup accelerators like Sheraa only shortlist the best teams, creating a work environment that will make adrenaline pump in any competitor’s heart.
For instance, the first batch of graduates from the initiative included 10 teams, 18 co-founders, 13 nationalities, and an average age of 25.
They also presented a wide variety of business models ranged from an energy consumption app to an Emirati breakfast delivery service, a student peer-to-peer platform, and portraiture service that renders images in wooden blocks.
7. Build the right contacts
One of the key elements of launching your business in Sharjah is that the Emirate provides the perfect platform for you to network and meet with the right contacts.
Local organizations are constantly offering their assistance to the Emirate's budding entrepreneurs as well.
In the past, the Sharjah International Airport Free Zone has helped startups with setting up their licenses. Meanwhile, Sharjah's investment arm, Sharjah Asset Management, pledged up to 5% of its annual procurement to be bought from the new ventures that graduated from Sheraa.
8. Make a change
If you are a young entrepreneur looking to make a difference in your community and society as a whole, Sharjah will help support your idea more than any other place.
When investors look to inject a company with funds, one of their key focus is to see whether the business concept addresses some of the shortages in the country.
Thus, every entrepreneur's new business should fill a gap in the market.