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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Dafza with other entities launches incubator for Islamic ethical start-ups

Goodforce Labs will help companies achieve Dh50m in annual revenues

In a tie up with other entities Dubai Airport Freezone Authority set up Goodforce Labs, an incubator to support Islamic ethical startups. Courtesy Dafza
In a tie up with other entities Dubai Airport Freezone Authority set up Goodforce Labs, an incubator to support Islamic ethical startups. Courtesy Dafza

In a tie-up with other entities Dubai Airport Freezone Authority set up an incubator to support Islamic ethical start-ups, the authority said on Monday.

Goodforce Labs has been established in collaboration with Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, which is tasked with bolstering Dubai’s position as a world capital of Islamic economy and London-based Technolera, a venture building company that scales up start-ups, the authority said in a statement. The incubator will help start-ups generate Dh50 million in annual revenues.

“The incubator...will work to overcome obstacles facing startups, allowing them to grow and expand in international markets, transforming Islamic ethical economy sectors into global sectors that reach ethical and Islamic markets,” the authority said.

“The higher goal of this initiative is enhancing Islamic ethical economy start-ups to become globally competitive, in addition to transforming local products into international products with significant social impact and influence.”

Islamic finance is viewed as a key growth area by financial hubs in the Middle East and Asia. Dubai, the commercial and business hub of the Middle East, is aspiring to become the leader in Islamic economy. Ethical investing has been gaining traction globally. According to Global Impact Investing Network’s 2016 survey, respondents committed a total of $22.1 billion into nearly 8,000 impact investments and these investors manage nearly $114bn in impact investing assets.

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“Hosting Goodforce Labs confirms our pivotal role as an essential and active partner in bolstering Dubai’s position as a capital of Islamic economy,” said Nasser Al Madani, assistant director general of Dafza. The incubator "will be pivotal in supporting Islamic industries, developing the Halal sector, and spreading the Islamic lifestyle.”

Goodforce Labs will help start-ups and entrepreneurs to start, manage, and develop their businesses into global social impact driven companies, Dafza said.

A number of start-ups have already joined the incubator. They include: Growmada, an electronic platform for selling handicrafts from developing countries; Waqf 2.0, a cloud-based platform for managing Awqaf; Zileej, a company specialising in disciplined entertainment products; Rabia Z, which designs modest women’s clothing; iWealth, a digital tool for financial literacy for the youth; and Smart Halal, an e-learning platform for Halal and ethical food industry professionals.