Creative Zone Startup-X

Creative Zone together with Sharjah Media City is excited to invest in 2 of the UAE’s most promising start-ups, that has a vision of making a difference to the wider community. These start-ups will be given the opportunity to expand their reach through Creative Zone’s and Shams support services and partner networks allowing them access to business trade licenses, office spaces, legal advice, media and marketing services, funding options, tax and accounting consultation, and more.

This year, Startup X Accelerator programme has also joined hands with a lineup of supporting partners like, the Dubai Business Women Council, Capital Club Dubai, Global Millennial Capital, Financial Institutions and Universities.

Idea and early-stage startups across the country can apply to startup X by submitting a min long video explaining their business idea along with the business plan, following which ten candidates will be chosen for a seven-day training session, where candidates will obtain actionable insights on their business. These ten participants will then be invited to present their idea to the judges at the demo day. Two top business plans will be selected and will be offered a bundle of support services worth AED 100,000.

How Does It Work

Pitch It In A Minute

All entries are mandated to submit a video profile explaining their business plan in exactly 1-minute together with a short description of the candidate profile and the business plan. Only the shortlisted entries will be contacted for the next stage.


The 10 best business proposals will be shortlisted by the judges based on various criteria like feasibility of the business plan, pitch delivery, financial study, scalability, and sustainability. All selected candidates are to confirm their participation within the same week, else the waitlisted candidate will be given the opportunity.

Demo Day

The 10 shortlisted candidates will be given 10 days to prepare for a formal Demo Day where they would be invited to a physical event space to present their business plan to the panel of judges. There will be time allocated for presentation and Q&A for each participant. The expected presentation format will be communicated to all the finalists once the results are announced.

The top 2 business plans will be announced the same day and will be awarded business setup support services valuing at AED 100,000.

shams logo
Our title partner Sharjah Media City is one of the fastest growing Media Free Zones of the UAE and is an acclaimed world-class hub for media and creativity in the region.

SHAMS covers a wide range of business activities and has an excellent business landscape that promotes business viability and growth. SHAMS will provide four 1-Visa Trade License Packages for one year to the winners of StartupX Accelerator Programme.

Award Detail

Creative Zone will provide the 2 winners with business support services worth AED 100,000, which will include:

  • 1-year free trade license and company setup advice provided by Creative Zone
  • 1-year office Space at My Office / Creative Zone
  • Free banking advice and support provided by Creative Zone Banking
  • 1-year discounted insurance coverage for the winner
  • 1-year free mentoring program with workshops, seminars and dedicated coaches
  • 1-year free tax and accounting support provided by Creative Zone Tax & Accounting
  • 1-year free legal advice provided
  • 1-year access to Zoho CRM with $1,800 wallet credits
  • Access to capital, investors & partners
  • 1-year HR support & recruitment services
  • $25k Azure credits to be spent in a 2 year time
  • 1 year access to the below upon evaluation:
    5 x Github,
    5x VisualStudio
    5x Office 365
    1x Dynamics 365

Who Should Apply

The program is aimed at early stage start-ups that have recently started their businesses or are about to launch their businesses. Entrepreneurs who already have an MVP in place or that have seen a real interest and have tested their product or service with their market audience.The application process is open to anyone, but highly competitive.

You should apply if you:

  • Have a brilliant business idea and believe you can make a difference
  • Require assistance in going through the complex business setup procedures
  • Require coaching and mentoring to help grow your business to the next level
  • Need access to investors, partners, and funding institutes
  • Are interested to be part of an ever-growing community of entrepreneurs


  • Sep 30 Application Submission Deadline
  • Oct 10 Top 20 Business Ideas Will Be Announced
  • Oct 17-21 Mentorship Week
  • Nov 7-8 Demo Day
  • Nov 23 Winner Announcement

Disclaimer: Choosing a winner is completely upon the discretion of the judges. Creative Zone does not guarantee funding to any participants entering the contest.

Meet The Judges


Reg Athwal

Founder, Chairman & MD, RTS Global

Spencer Lodge

Founder, Make It Happen University - E-Learning Platform,

Fadi Farhat

Small & Medium Business Lead. Microsoft UAE

Donna Benton

Founder and CEO, The Benton Group

Andreea Danila

Founding General Partner, Global Millennial Capital

Deepak Ahuja

Shareholder/Investor/Operating Partner in UAE, Venture Catalyst

Nadine Halabi

Business Development Manager, Dubai Business Women Council

Lorenzo Jooris

CEO, Creative Zone

our strategic partners

Supporting partners


Suite 1702, Level 17, Boulevard Plaza Tower 1, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashid Boulevard DownTown Dubai, Dubai, UAE