DAFZA Launches Goodforce Labs, A Startup Incubator Focusing On Social Impact

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Dubai Aiport Freezone Authority (DAFZA), along with various entities, have introduced Goodforce Labs, a startup incubator focused on ethical startups in the Islamic economy and halal sector. The incubator envisions to support startups across the region, with an aim to help startups generate US$50 million in annual revenues and measurable social impact. Besides DAFZA, it was launched with the support of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, whose mission is to establish Dubai as the capital of Islamic economy, and UK-based Technolera, a venture building company specializing in scaling startups.

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Launched in time for the UAE Innovation Month, the inauguration event welcomed leaders from the ecosystem- including Nasser Al Madani of DAFZA, Amna Lootah of DAFZA Innovation & Future Unit, Saeed Kharbash of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center and Rafi-uddin Shikoh of DinarStandard, in addition to entrepreneurs, Islamic economy insiders and investors. As part of its goal, Goodforce Labs would be supporting startups and corporate professionals in developing concepts to businesses with global potential and social impact. The incubator would also offer services such as design, marketing, operations and management to achieve financial growth and social impact. Commenting on the incubator’s potential, Al Madani says it’s a step towards strengthening Dubai’s position as a capital for Islamic economy. “This incubator will be pivotal in supporting Isalmic industries, developing the halal sector, and spreading the Islamic lifestyle which encompasses culture, arts, and family tourism around the world.”

Goodforce Labs will cover active ethical economy sectors such as food, finance, education and lifestyle sectors, with the objective of scaling Islamic ethical startups to scale and compete globally. And a number of startups have already joined up: Growmada, a crowdfunding and marketplace platform selling handicrafts from developing countries; Waqf 2.0, a cloud-based platform to manage Awqaf; Zileej, a company focused on creating socially-driven content and products; Rabia Z, a modest fashion brand for women; iWealth, a digital tool for financial literacy for the youth; and Smart Halal, a platform enabling consumers to check the halal status of a product. As the incubator taps into the potential of the emerging Islamic economy and social impact investment space, this untapped opportunity is one to closely watch.

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