Spinneys launches second edition of Local Business Incubator to support F&B producers in the UAE


Locally-owned supermarket Spinneys has announced a second edition of its Local Business Incubator programme for 2021. Following the success of the inaugural 2020 programme, Local Business Incubator returns with new benefits designed to further boost the growth of UAE-born fast moving consumer goods suppliers.

As part of Spinneys’ drive for a more sustainable future, the initiative aims to fast-track supermarket listings for innovative F&B businesses in a bid to support local food production and stimulate economic growth in the sector. The programme, a first-of-its-kind in the region, launched in 2020 amidst the economic challenges caused by Covid-19 with the aim of supporting the UAE’s food security agenda by reducing dependence on imported supplies. 

In its first year, Spinneys launched 14 new brands with a further six currently in development phase. As a result, Spinneys stores have released 100 new product lines and created 50 new jobs amongst the winners of the 2020 businesses. Total sales value from incubator brands alone reached over AED 3 million. The initiative has also been praised by the UAE government’s Food and Water Security office for its contribution to The National Food Security Strategy.

The 2021 Local Business Incubator offers a chance to reward even more local food producers and manufacturers in the emirates for their innovation and accelerate their path to supermarket entry. This year’s programme will run with a shorter exclusivity period of 6 months instead of 12, allowing businesses to grow faster and expand further with other retailers. This change came about as a result of 2020 winners getting requests from other retailers to list their products, soon after launching with Spinneys.

There will also be a chance for businesses to collaborate with some of Dubai’s most famous food personalities. One of last year’s incubator winners Naksha Collections – whose gourmet meal kits are inspired by countries of the Indian Ocean – this year partnered with The Matter Farm & Spinneys to offer an exclusive smoked chicken mandi meal for Ramadan.

There are no listing fees and with generous payment terms selected brands receive regular coaching sessions from Spinneys’ senior management team, as well as marketing support across its digital channels, PR and via in-store sampling. The main eligibility criteria is that the product needs to be produced or manufactured in the UAE and meet a clear consumer need. 

Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, affirmed that the development of the food and beverage sector is of strategic importance for the UAE and a main component in enhancing national food security, increasing local food production, supporting entrepreneurship, and developing the economy.

“The Spinneys incubator represents a pioneering step in enabling entrepreneurs operating in the sector to develop their companies in order to serve the directions and goals of the National Food Security Strategy and to create a favourable business environment that will work to attract investment throughout the food value chain,” says Her Excellency.

Tom Harvey, Commercial Manager at Spinneys, says: “Looking beyond the pandemic, we see more opportunity than ever before for small businesses to embark on their entrepreneurial journey, – and at Spinneys we are dedicated to helping make that happen. We began this programme at the peak of the coronavirus crisis and were amazed by the sheer number of entries and variety of innovative ideas celebrating sustainable produce, healthy and organic alternatives or entirely new food concepts.

“The success and growth of our winners so far is proof that we’re heading in the right direction to build a more sustainable local food ecosystem in support of the UAE’s goal to become the world’s most food-secure nation by 2051. As a UAE success story, Spinneys is an integral part of the community and supporting it is at the core of our values. Being in a position to generate more jobs and help overcome some of the negative economic effects of the pandemic is crucial. We are committed to this journey as part of our corporate sustainability initiative Let’s Do Better Together.” 

Suppliers interested in participating will have to submit a short presentation via the Spinneys website detailing the product or concept, the business plan and the people behind the business. The incubator panel, represented by senior Spinneys executives, will review and select a shortlist of businesses to present to the panel. Entries are now open and must be submitted by 30th June 2021.

Successfully selected businesses will then be listed in Spinneys stores, during which time they will gain valuable commercial and marketing expertise to help scale their businesses. After six months, those brands will be given the opportunity to continue retailing with Spinneys, and can choose to retail through other distributors too.