One inspiring success story that highlights the profound impact of the Incubation Centre is Thaely, a Hindi word for the plastic bag, a cutting-edge sneaker brand founded by 24-year-old Ashay Bhave, a former student of Amity University Dubai. Ashay's vision was to create sneakers using only recycled components from waste materials, specifically tackling the issue of 100 billion plastic bags used annually. These bags not only consume 12 million barrels of oil but also contribute to the tragic deaths of 100,000 marine animals each year.
In 2017, while pursuing his bachelor's degree in business administration at Amity University Dubai, Ashay began his journey. Over the next two years, he researched and developed a plastic waste-based fabric that closely resembled leather. To determine the feasibility of replacing traditional leather with this innovative material, Ashay sought the expertise of a local shoe repairer in Mumbai to create a rough prototype. This critical test aimed to demonstrate the fabric's seamless integration into conventional manufacturing techniques. The successful outcome was an impressive prototype that boasted the functionality and appearance of a traditional leather sneaker.
Thaely's groundbreaking innovation caught the judges' attention at Amity University Dubai's 2019 Eureka startup pitch competition. With its unique concept and well-crafted business plan, Thaely secured the first-place award. This recognition not only brought attention but also provided Thaely with the essential funding needed to advance the project.
Capitalizing on this momentum, Thaely continued its journey in Dubai, developing its second prototype. The design of this prototype was entirely original, drawing inspiration from classic basketball sneakers of the early 2000s to evoke a sense of familiarity and appeal. Through rigorous testing and refinement, the final prototype emerged as a production-ready sample, meeting the necessary standards for mass production.
By offering mentorship, training programmes, and networking opportunities, Amity University Dubai's Incubation Centre created a space that fostered Thaely's growth and empowered its founder to make a positive impact on the environment through entrepreneurship.