It’s a story as old as time. One person, striving for change in the status quo, yearning for community, daring to take that extra step, stands in front of a crowded room of peers and superiors, and spins in a circle until she gets dizzy.

Okay, so not everyone opts for the spinning technique, but when Soraya Darwish spun her heart out at the King Abdulaziz University of Science and Technology VentureLab — an entrepreneurial program dedicated to helping companies start up — expressing what every young creative  feels when they’re just starting, spinning in circles, getting dizzy and overwhelmed, and accomplishing nothing, everyone got it. They knew she was right. Perhaps they’d even been there before. And to make sure others didn’t go through what they went through in the past, they gave them all the support they needed to learn how to start this business.

Onqoud is a creative incubator that brings creatives together and provides them with the tools they need to learn, create and share. They focus on two main services: a) working hand-in-hand with creatives and businesses to turn their creative projects into reality by developing and managing them, and b) helping creatives set-up new businesses.

“Think of it this way,” said Yousef Alshaikh (co-founder of Onqoud), “Once we had a guy who wanted to start an animation business in the UAE and didn’t know where to start. He’s got this destination in mind, and he’s sitting in a car that is completely disassembled, raring to go. Within a five- to six-hour incubation session with us, we’ve got the car all built up and he’s ready to take off, and you see the look on his face.” Yousef smiled a big, proud grin. “It’s the best thing in the world.”

“That’s what we do.”

The company was founded late 2012 by three very talented and passionate artists: Soraya, Yousef, and Mariam Hamidaddin. They named it after the Arabic word for grapevine. Just like how grapes are held together on a vine, given stability and structure and support, Onqoud wants to be that spine for creative people.

“What makes us passionate about our work is fulfilling our need to create projects that will leave an imprint on people’s minds and hearts,” said Soraya. “We want to help creatives in our community realize their own creative projects and businesses. We live to awe, inspire and empower!”

“Working with creatives on their large-scale projects is exciting for everyone, but it can get crazy,” said Yousef. “Sometimes our clients get overwhelmed with the business side of things, driving them to panicked exclamations of, ‘What are you talking about!’, but they need it and that’s what we’re here for.”

Onqoud has only been around for about a year, but they’ve accomplished so many wonderful things in that time. Just last September, they were approached by Lomar with an idea, and subsequently developed, managed and curated the [Un]stitched contemporary art exhibition at Naila Art Gallery in Riyadh. It helped showcase an inspiring collection of art from local artists that revolved around heritage and culture.