First unveiled at Dubai Design Week as part of MENA Grad Show 2020, Dateform is a unique start-up that creates new materials, products, and solutions using date seeds. Committed to reducing plastic pollution, the team behind the project is currently developing compostable food packaging solutions to replace single-use plastics.

A nutrient-rich natural resource widely available due to its high consumption and production within the region, date seeds can be an effective catalyst for social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

"The material we developed at Dateform is composed of food-grade ingredients that are safe for humans, animals and help enrich the environment," said Alhaan Ahmed, who cofounded the start-up along with Heba Naji and Abdulaziz Al Zamil.

Coming to life at the Dubai Institute of Design & Innovation, Global Grad Show and ARM Holding recognized the project’s potential and positive impact and have since been supporting its development through Global Grad Show entrepreneurship programme.

“At the time our project was called ‘Judhur’ and it was eventually chosen to be a part of the acceleration programme organized by Global Grad Show and ARM Holding where we were mentored by start-up development specialists, VC partners, and industry experts,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed hopes that Dateform will encourage designers to rethink how natural resources and locally-produced waste by-products can be repurposed to help move the world towards a circular economy and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production.

"Over the past year, we’ve conducted extensive material testing leading us to a more efficient manufacturing process,” Ahmed explained. “Being part of the acceleration programme has helped us develop our go-to-market strategy and supported us in further refining our business model."

Most importantly, the material and food packaging solutions used at Dateform are biodegradable, and will naturally decompose over a certain period of time.

“We hope to launch Dateform towards the end of this year and plan to unveil more products under the Dateform umbrella soon,” Ahmed added. Watch this space.

For more information on Global Grad Show and how to apply for this year's programme click here.