Al Quoz Creative Entrepreneurship Pitch: An innovative space for developing ideas

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  • Khulood Khoory: The pitch reflects Dubai Culture’s keenness to create a support ecosystem for the creative community.
  • Five pioneering projects were shortlisted to win.

Dubai, UAE: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has announced Reedz smart application as the winner of the Al Quoz Creative Entrepreneurship Pitch that was specially designed to support start-ups and provide them with the basic tools they need to enable them to more easily develop their innovative ideas.

Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts and Literature Sector at Dubai Culture, honoured Chehir Dhawedi and Haithem Kchaou, the founders of Reedz with a microfund of $3,000 after they successfully presented their idea of ​​a podcast and audiobook smartphone app that provides summaries of the most important English non-fiction books translated into Arabic.

The final pitch was judged by a multi-experienced jury that included Khulood Khoory, Director of the Projects & Events Department at Dubai Culture; Neel Patkar, Founder of theJamJar; Jade Adams, CEO of SMS ME; and Aya Sadder, CEO & Founder of Bolt Consultancy. The jury’s discussions and evaluations of the participating projects selected the winner of the microfund from the five shortlisted projects.

In addition to the winner, Reedz, the other shortlisted projects who presented their projects at the pitch were:

Localkilns where architect Tasnim Tinawi conceptualised a specialised kiln firing and courier service; Leukeather, an idea presented by architect and researcher Nuhayr Zein who created a patent pending, plant-based alternative to exotic leather that can transform the fashion industry; Datecrete by Sara Abu Farha and Khaled Shalkha who co-created a patent pending, biodegradable alternative to traditional concrete which can be used in any small to large home product and installation; and Hakimi Studio by artist Narimene Hakimi who created handmade ceramics with contemporary and eccentric designs alongside exploratory pottery workshops.

Khulood Khoory, Director of the Projects & Events Department at Dubai Culture stressed the importance of the role played by Dubai Culture in encouraging entrepreneurs to present their ideas and enabling them to invest and turn them into reality, saying: “The cultural and creative industries, with their diversity and inclusiveness, are an essential pillar in shaping and strengthening Dubai’s creative economy. The Authority’s interest in these industries reflects its keenness to develop an integrated ecosystem capable of supporting the creative community and enabling it to contribute to the emirate’s gross domestic product.”

Khoory added: “The Al Quoz Creative Entrepreneurship Pitch is one of the Authority’s initiatives that seeks to embody Dubai’s cultural vision aimed at cementing the emirate’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent. The innovative nature of the participating projects affirms the richness of Dubai’s cultural environment.”

Khoory continued: “The group of projects demonstrated the pioneering spirit of the participating entrepreneurs and their capability of supporting the cultural and creative industries as well as the creative economy. This enhances Dubai’s global position as a land of opportunities, and falls within the framework of Dubai Culture’s commitments aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and supporting and nurturing talent. At Dubai Culture, we also believe in the importance of providing our creative community members with the training and educational workshops to motivate them and support them in honing their skills.”

On the sidelines of the pitch, Dubai Culture held a panel discussion entitled ‘Business of Creativity’, witnessing the participation of Khulood Khoory, Director of the Projects & Events Department at Dubai Culture; Sinan Onurlu, Engagement Manager at Atolye; Nemanja Valjarevic, Director & Co-Founder of CHI-KA Atelier & Cultural Space; and Manish Bhargava, founder of Pekoe Tea & Bread Bar. The session, which was moderated by Dr Wasseem Abaza, Director of Founders Academy and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Zayed University, discussed a set of themes that covered the importance of creative and cultural industries, and their role in supporting Dubai’s economy. It also shed light on a number of successful business models and the best methods and practices for communicating with customers.

The Al Quoz Pop Up Incubator initiative launched by the Authority as part of the series of  events programme of Al Quoz Creative Zone witnessed the organisation of weekly ‘Ideation Nights’ that focused on ways to develop innovative ideas, in addition to the ‘Lab Series’ which are a series of extensive workshops aimed at motivating emerging entrepreneurs and providing them with the basics to plan to achieve their goals and ensure the development of their projects and ideas. The labs, which were provided by a group of experts and specialists, shed light on digital marketing tools, business licenses, value proposition, business models, marketing strategies and pitching.

The Al Quoz Creative Zone project aims to establish an integrated creative zone that meets the requirements of creatives from all over the world, and provide a suitable environment for talent in all fields that enables them to succeed and positively contribute to Dubai’s creative and cultural fabric. According to the project’s master plan, the zone will be supported by facilities that will embrace 20,000 creatives by 2026.