The Dtec staff, Pramod says, have been amazing in supporting their members, “including us”. “It is a buzzing entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he observes.
As one of the initial licensees in Dtec, Rachna says support for start-ups begins early here, right at the beginning of the business life cycle. “License fees are reduced substantially for the first three years – Dh5,000 per annum instead of Dh12,000 per annum. The key differentiator between Dtec and other hubs is that Dtec takes proactive actions in supporting its licensees. For example, at the end of first three years of discounted license fees, Dtec supported many of its members by extending the discount for further two years. This type of cash saving is a great support for any business in its initial years,” she explains.
Dtec has a broad range of companies established – from software and app developers to aggregators, consultants and solution providers. There are many meeting rooms, informal areas, and shared facilities available to enhance collaboration within the community members.
“Another initiative was the SOC (Silicon Oasis Capital) which invested in businesses as a Venture Capitalist. This was great as it enabled businesses at different stages of their business cycle to learn and grow together under the same roof,” he adds.
A couple of years ago, SOF and SOC were merged as a new entity, Dtec Ventures, which is a Venture Capital Unit based within Dtec which invests in growth stage start-ups. “Dtec is the only start-up hub with its own in-house investment team who also offer support and mentorship,” says Pramod.
According to Rachna, to start a company the initial business plan is required to be submitted as part of the application. “This is a great initiative and forces the entrepreneur to draw up a business plan and consider risks before spending money on setting up a company,” she says.
In order for any business to succeed, financial discipline is critical to maintain, explains Rachna. “Dtec takes this aspect seriously and hence, as part of compliance, it mandates all companies to submit audited financial statements along with the license renewal.
Again, the support and guidance from Dtec ensures that entrepreneurs experience financial discipline to succeed from the start of their journey. There are regular, engaging, collaborative events for Dtec members and the community is so large, you can end up working with your suppliers in the same building,” says Rachna.
There have been many success stories in Dtec, such as Shortpoint that have progressed on to raising funds in US or Clip the Deal that have successfully raised funding in UAE and many others who have benefitted from this ecosystem.