Innovate or fall behind

Big businesses have acknowledged the importance of innovation. However, in today’s day and age, it is the entrepreneurs and small business that are redefining the way the industry works. Alistair Cox, Hays plc CEO says recruiting innovative staff is the key in bringing big business back to the position of industry innovators and leaders rather than followers. Alistair says, “A fundamental element of true corporate innovation involves unlocking the entrepreneurial leadership gene in your wider workforce.” About the lack of innovation, he adds, “These programmes are often secluded in one corner of the business, lack leadership or authority from board level and rather than spark a culture of innovation, simply limp along and then flicker out and die over time. Innovation is not an immediate asset to add to your company toolkit or balance sheet, something you can decide to invest in and predict a return on investment from. True innovation is also the close relation of disruption, whether that’s disrupting how we do things or whether it’s more fundamental than that and challenges why our business even exists. Perseverance is a key attribute here and one of the facets often attributed to an entrepreneur is their ability to bounce back from failure, learn from it and then try again in a different way. Yet often in a corporate world, there is little appetite for failure and unsuccessful ventures can easily be criticized as a distraction and a waste of time and money, particularly when the rest of the organization is working so hard to create that money in the first place.” How can innovation be achieved? ·      A...

Scout My Car- Going the extra mile.

As we talk about startups in the region, Scout My Car is the perfect example where you see the Middle East market changing. Scout My Car goes deep into consumer behavior in the region, and tackles one of the major pain points amongst the people purchasing used cars. With the growing number of cars being bought and sold on a daily basis, it’s easy for a consumer to get stuck on the raw side of a deal. Be it a fair price point, a thorough inspection, maintenance, insurance and more; consumers often lose track and miss out on minor details that could end up in major disappointments. This is where Scout My Car plays a significant role. It serves as the perfect catalyst while you purchase your first car, your dream car or even swap a family car. The platform adds convenience to the consumer-buying journey and advises you on how much you should pay, and every single detail you should look out for.   Scout My Car carries out a detailed inspection on your car, starting from a full mechanical check up, covering the diagnostics and safety, to the interiors. It then gives you a complete report on owner and vehicle history. Finally, keeping all these factors in mind, it suggests a suitable valuation for your car. Scout My Car is a unique creation developed and run by Alexander, co-founder and CEO, and Omar, co-founder and Head of Operations. In a recent interview with the team, we had the chance to discuss their inspiration, journey and motto behind Scout My Car. “My love for cars is where it all...
A ‘Historic Agreement’ with Hyperloop One

A ‘Historic Agreement’ with Hyperloop One

Dubai is all set to reduce traffic congestion. How? With the Hyperloop One technology. The country’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed an agreement with Hyperloop One- a mobility company, and both the parties are exploring routes to design a transport system between Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Riyadh.   The new Hyperloop is designed to be a low-pressure tube with levitating pods. It can travel at speeds of up to 1,200 km/hr. This system has higher safety standards than a passenger jet, lower build and maintenance costs than a high-speed rail, and also has lower energy consumption. Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd is his statement said “I can assure that Hyperloop is safe for travel for people with health concerns. The health and safety regulators team will clarify any health-related concerns for commuters.” Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA Mater Al Tayer said, “We’ll bring daylight mobility savings. Dubai is a city that understands global changes.” Hyperloop One will work with architects and engineers on a detailed plan sponsored by the RTA, which will move the company into its second stage of design. Al Tayer also said, “This project is an opportunity to help transform the UAE from being a technology consumer to being technology creator.” Hyperloop will significantly reduce the commute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to just 12 minutes, in comparison to the current 1 hour 30 minutes by car. Lloyd added, “It is up to the RTA to decide when Hyperloop will be available for the public to use, and that he could see a Hyperloop in...

CUD student makes heads turn at the Business Startup Awards with his new venture.

Abzal Assembekov, at just twenty-one years old, has already built an impressive portfolio to call his own, and has recently made it even better securing 2 nominations in the forthcoming Arabian Startup Awards 2016. The Bachelor of Communications at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has been shortlisted along with 5 other competitors for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year title. He will go head-to-head against other enterprises for the New Media Startup of the Year award, with his newest venture- Propertin360.co. Assembekov has launched a number of successful technology-based startups in the region, and is already recognized in the UAE enterprise scene. In 2014, he won the Dubai Startup Weekend competition, going on to mentor fellow entrepreneurs the following year. His latest start-up was created using his inspiration from one of his many other successful firms. Propertyin360.co is a mobile application that can create virtual tours using your smartphone camera. This app is designed for real-estate agencies and property owners who create several tours on a regular basis. About the inspiration behind the idea Assembekov said, “The inspiration for this idea came from the fact that the real estate market is one of the best and fastest to grow with. We started thinking about how to make life easier for real estate agencies and at the same time make something that they would really want to use. Classified ads are not a new thing for them, so we had to come up with something that nobody had developed before – we are actually the first in the world to launch this kind of technology. There is an app from the UK, but to use that...

NYUAD gives start ups a helping hand

Sarah Jones of Mini Exchange, an online marketplace for childcare products says, “Nothing is an easy sell in the start-up world.” “I didn’t even know what a conversion rate was when I started. I thought if 100 people came to my site, 50 per cent would buy. Actually a good conversion rate is out of every 100 coming to the site, only one will buy. Getting my head around that was a huge challenge.” At the New York University Abu Dhabi’s startAD program, Ms. Jones spoke about the range of workshops, talks and boot camps that the program provides, so aspiring entrepreneurs can turn their business ideas into reality. This program is conducted by UAE-based entrepreneurs and global experts. The program offers topics like Tech Tuesdays, which includes on scientific research on health, social robotics, fintech, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. At the launch of the event, Ms. Jones and David Llorente- founder of Artificial intelligence company Narrativa spoke about their struggles and how they overcame business failures. “The adoption of these technologies is very slow in the ­media industry because there is a lot of resistance, especially in Europe. We need to explain that we are not destroying jobs, but increasing revenues and profit capabilities of companies.” says Mr. Llorente. Narrativa is the fourth start-up Mr. Llorente has launched and admits that most didn’t work. But when it does, it works well and gives rise to a new problem of generating customers and delivering. This increases your burn rate, which means how quickly you burn through your capital. However, you have to control your burn rate, and create...
Rocketing startups to another level, AstroLabs is just the space to be in!

Rocketing startups to another level, AstroLabs is just the space to be in!

‘Dubai’ has become the buzzword world over. This is a city that has imploded with transformation – becoming a supportive hub for young as well as experienced entrepreneurs who are bursting forth with fresh ideas. This is exactly why Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki decided to set up AstroLabs here.   Having spotted a need for an interaction-based environment where technology enthusiasts could possibly emerge into full-fledged entrepreneurs, this duo decided to build a physical space to help tech startups by providing mentorship, bespoke events, programming, and guidelines of setting up their businesses – all under the umbrella of AstroLabs. Taking inspiration from the stars above, the name AstroLabs is a play on the word ‘astrolabe’, which is an astronomical instrument that was historically used to predict the position of the planets and other luminaries. As above, so below – because the process of setting up businesses is perceived as challenging, AstroLabs has managed to make this process simple and straightforward for new entrepreneurs. To become part of this community, AstroLabs has tailored packages that budding tech company owners can choose from namely, the licensed membership, monthly membership, and the moonlighter membership. According to Muhammed Mekki, “Dubai is the de facto hub for the Middle East when it comes to setting up and scaling up technology and digital startups. A lot of the companies that started up in another region and have progressed and reached a level of saturation, have come out to establish themselves here, to access the Gulf market that has great activity and that is very well connected to the rest of the world. There’s a...