Owned, developed and managed by Ikea, MEGA is a leading chain of shopping centers across Russia. These malls attract some 275 million visitors each year, according to the Swedish group.

The application process for the accelerator opened yesterday, December 7, on a dedicated website, and will close in January.  In March 2016, the selected teams will be invited to test and develop their ideas in the accelerator with the support of mentors.

Each selected team will receive 350,000 rubles (a little more than $5,000 at the current exchange rate) while the winner, who will be announced in June 2016, will get 3.5 million rubles (approximately $50,000).

Ikea will offer the necessary resources and “a creative office space” in Moscow for the startups to develop their ideas while GVA LaunchGurus, a western-style accelerator in Moscow, will provide education courses as well as seed funding.

“We are glad to share our knowledge and experience with MEGA Accelerator, providing the best toolkit to make their ideas a success,” stated Zamir Shukhov, Director at GVA LaunchGurus.

This project is not the first incursion of the Swedish group into the startup playground. As early as 2008, Ikea announced a $50 million investment in green tech startups, and joined the Cleantech Scandinavia initiative.  In 2013, the group sponsored Flat6Labs Jeddah, the first startup accelerator in Saudi Arabia. Just weeks ago, Ikea launched a research hub and exhibition space in Copenhagen “to explore the future of home design.”

By East-West Digital News