Select startups will be supported with equity-free seed funding of up to $10,000, a free Sharjah-based trade license, and rent-free office space at Sheraa.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), a Sharjah-based accelerator, is now inviting entrepreneurs from within the UAE and overseas for its second cycle.

Early-stage ventures that wish to use Sharjah as a launch pad to grow and scale up can apply, the center said in a statement.

Select startups will be supported with equity-free seed funding of up to $10,000, a free Sharjah-based trade license, and rent-free office space at Sheraa.

The deadline for applications is August 31, with the three-month program launching in October this year.

Select startups will also get expert mentorship, legal assistance, and access to contracts from within the government and the private sector. This in addition to getting an opportunity to pitch to investors and partners.

According to the center, the first cohort saw the launch of ten startups across sectors such as the sharing economy, sustainable technology, education, artificial intelligence, internet of things, etc.

Najla Al-Midfa, general manager at Sheraa, pointed to art-related startup Juxtapiece, which has clients like Smart Dubai, Bee’ah and Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), and Yalla Pickup, a transport tech startup, which raised Dhs1 million.

Sheraa, which is an official entrepreneurship center, backed by the Emirate of Sharjah, is based at the American University of Sharjah.

The program has elicited support from budget carrier Air Arabia, and conglomerates like Bee’ah and Crescent Enterprises, who will partner with Sheraa for the second edition too.

In May 2017, Sheraa formed a partnership with Crescent Enterprises, as part of its efforts to supporting the growth of socially-conscious entrepreneurs in the region.

As per the pact, Sheraa and Crescent Enterprises will co-create initiatives that help develop the region’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Sheraa has been trying up with other Sharjah-based entities to broaden its offerings to aspiring entrepreneurs.

And in April 2017, Sheraa partnered with Air Arabia to launch a ‘travel and tourism’ track at its co-working space.

Sheraa also recently joined hands with Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) to offer discounted free zone licenses to accelerator teams.

As per the pact, SAIF will provide discounted two-year free zone licenses to startups using Sheraa’s headquarters at the American University of Sharjah as their premises.