A new drive to grow social start-ups in Abu Dhabi has been launched today by Ma’an Authority for Social Contribution. The first initiative of its kind in the capital, Ma’an Social Incubator was launched today at an event at Zayed Higher Organization. Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, announced the theme for this first cycle would be focused on developing solutions for challenges faced by people of determination.
The event was attended by HE Dr. Mugheer Al-Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, and a number of government leaders, businessmen, investors, and VIPs. Ma’an Social Incubator will offer social entrepreneurs the chance to grow their business ideas into a social enterprise or not-for-profit association that will make a positive impact on the lives of Abu Dhabi residents.
Each year, Ma’an will run two six-month cycles, nurturing 10 social start-ups in each cycle through offering milestone funding, mentorship, office space, business expertise and access to investors. More than AED 2 million of support will be available to support these social entrepreneurs in each cycle, with the aim of encouraging more not-for-profits associations and social enterprises that contribute towards the common good.
H.E. Salama Al Ameemi said: “At Ma’an our mission is to make a social impact in Abu Dhabi, encouraging the growth of the third sector and making a positive difference in the lives of our residents. The Ma’an Social Incubator is our first program and one that will see 10 new social enterprises established in Abu Dhabi every six months. We are looking for talented, enthusiastic, creative and driven people with ideas that are unique, impactful and sustainable. Our focus is on incubating ventures that make a big social impact. Whether it is, for example, an idea for a braille smartphone or a business that employs people of determination, the Ma’an Social Incubator can help you to make that idea a reality.”
Applications open today and close on 13 June, with the program open to teams of two to three people whose innovative and original ideas are in the early stages of development. Successful applicants will be supported by the business development expertise of Deloitte and provided with an experienced mentor who will offer their time, expertise and guidance in helping the teams to bring their idea to fruition.
Shortlisted teams will get access to workshops and training programs to hone their business skills and understand more about the particular social challenge of each cycle, such as understanding more about the lives of people of determination. The program offers unique and valuable networking opportunities for the teams to build relationships with individuals outside of the program, including investors, third sector leaders and regional and global industry figures. Ma’an will organise ‘pitch days’ for the 10 teams to be able to leverage funding from investors.
Each team will be eligible to receive milestone funding of up to AED 100,000, released at every successful milestone the participant reaches as well as support for living expenses and housing costs for participants not based in Abu Dhabi. Applicants must be 18 and over and live in – or be willing to relocate to – Abu Dhabi.