ARAB NEWS JEDDAH (Rahnuma) : Innovative business startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could receive cash injections of up to $1 million as part of a newly launched growth initiative.
Fifteen technology firms will be given the opportunity to participate in a three-month program of bootcamps aimed at fast-tracking promising young entrepreneurs to achieving their business goals.
The non-profit Misk Foundation has launched its growth accelerator scheme for MENA technology startups in partnership with innovation investor organizations Seedstars and Vision Ventures.
Each company selected to take part in the project will receive an initial $100,000 with the chance of a follow-up $1 million. The business accelerator program, which will run from September to December this year, is targeted at startup ventures with product/market fit that are looking to expand.
The 15 successful applicants will join in three on-site bootcamps and a demo day in Riyadh, allowing them to stay close to customers while receiving constant coaching from in-house and external growth experts.
Seedstars, a global organization with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship, and Vision Ventures, a renowned venture capital firm investing throughout the MENA region, will jointly pump $100,000 into each of the initiative’s participating startups and will then consider follow-on investments.
Kais Al-Essa, founding partner and CEO of Vision Ventures, said: “Being entrepreneurs ourselves, we know how founders suffer in their journey toward success. Our role is to try to add light and direction to the roads ahead of them.
“The co-investment model in this program gives startups two great institutions on their capitalization table, access to a strong local and regional network, and knowledge of Vision Ventures, in addition to the global Seedstars platform.”
The focus of the growth program will be to help startups with product/market fit to implement a process in order to deliver consistent high growth.
“Startups often have a misconception that growth comes from hacks, while in fact it’s a process. Growth is a culture, a mindset and a methodology that needs to be implemented, and that’s the main goal of the program,” said Charlie Graham-Brown, CIO of Seedstars.
Program participants will also receive coaching on other key topics such as talent management, leadership and fundraising strategy.
Applications are now open and will be accepted until July 21. To qualify, applicants must be tech startups from any sector in the MENA region, have raised funds of between $250,000 and $1 million, have more than $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue, and have product/market fit.
The growth accelerator aims to build on the existing work of startup ecosystem enablers in the MENA region.
Osama Al-Raee, entrepreneurship growth director at Misk Foundation, said: “Misk Innovation has been supporting early stage startups through various initiatives such as events, bootcamps and acceleration programs. We now see a need to help startups make the jump to become ready for series A round.
“We believe that the combined program of investment and know-how can make a real difference. This is all part of how we support Misk’s wider mission of empowering youth to become the architects, not tenants, of the future economy, by unleashing their huge entrepreneurial potential.”