United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator du is extending the deadline for entries to a start-up funding program by a fortnight, as carriers’ interest in backing new companies spreads.
The UAE operator is leaving the door to its The Entrepreneur scheme open until April 15, despite claiming to have already received hundreds of entries to the program that offers a cash prize of a million dirhams (€204.039), and a further million AEDs-worth of professional business support.
Farid Faraidooni, du’s chief commercial officer, says entries so far flag the high level of “business promise there is in the UAE,” adding the program “is a great platform for those with entrepreneurial talent and aptitude.”
du’s scheme adds to recent moves by Orange in France, and Spanish incumbent Telefonica to foster new talent with start-up funds. Orange is backing a new €300 million tech fund in collaboration with Publicis Groupe and Iris Capital Management, while Telefonica is offering a similar program to du, by seeking to find entrepreneurs.