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These Are the 10 MENA Startups Heading Off to Germany with Womena

"We have talent in this region and this program is going to be such a good platform to showcase that," Womena's Founder Elissa Freiha tells Startup Scene ME. 10 startups have made it to the first cycle of the Womentum accelerator, kicking off this July. Here's the full list.

Ramadan is all about giving, and at Womena, we are giving everything we have to help this next generation of female business leaders succeed," says Elissa Freiha, founding and managing director of Dubai-based Womena, a bosslady community and umbrella for their Angel Investment Group and Womentum, a newly launched accelerator supporting startups which involve at least one female entrepreneur. For Womentum's first cohort kicking off this July, Womena selected 10 female-led techie startups out of 174 applications. 

When the team behind Womena first started reviewing its applications, they noticed that there was a strong representation from what society might consider traditionally female industries; such as education technology, or fashion and beauty tech. "But we also saw, a much broader spectrum of industries and verticals also being represented, that we don't normally consider as being female-centric; industries like gaming, hardware, medical technology, and transport," Freiha tells Startup Scene ME. 

It's a four-month programme, starting with the first two weeks of July in Berlin and ending with the first two weeks of October in Dubai with remote mentoring in the middle. "What we really want to see is very strong well rounded companies," Freiha adds. "Right now we're seeing some very strong tech companies, very strong business teams, very good early traction, but without the regulatory, legal framework and the backend to support it. We want to be able to fully compensate for the shortcomings of the companies as they currently stand and really deliver an impressive final cohort to our investor base in October." 

After almost three years of supporting women in the entrepreneurial field in the region, Womena's brand new accelerator is ready to support these ten startups from Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Morocco. 

1. X Pay, from Egypt  

Founded by the married couple Mennatallah Sabry and Mohamed Abdelmottaleb, X Pay is a startup working on the cashless transformation of communities through a mobile app for community members with a family wallet utilizing blockchain technology, as well as a community management web portal. “We believe that Womentum is a game changer for us, a dedicated teamwith tremendous network of mentors is what every startup needs. We cannot wait to start!”

2. Seabex, from Tunisia 

Next is a bigger team of four, Amira Cheniour, Inès Hamida, and the two co-founders Taher Mestiri, and William Kanâan. Seabex is precision farming hub that offers smart monitoring of environmental data using AI to help farmers make better decisions. 

“The entrepreneurship and innovation field is still male-dominated. At Seabex, we strongly believe that positive impact and great change come from brave and smart women when there are enough opportunities and Womentum is one of the best opportunities out there that empower women entrepreneurs, open doors and break barriers. Our hope for a sustainable world can't be a single effort, but it can happen when we, all change-makers, come together.”

3. Sadeed, from Jordan
Abdalla Odat, Haurga Hussein, and Anas Salman have co-founded an AI-powered tool to manage and respond to public comments on social media platforms, using machine learning to improve performance and to better understand inputs of all languages. 

“We live one day at a time. Each day we look for a kernel of excitement. Inthe morning we ask: what is our excitement thing for today? Then, we heardfrom Womena. Don’t ask for tomorrow.”

4. We Share Property, from UAE

Sarah Bacon and Steven Taylor are joining Womentum with this integrated platform that aggregates upwards of $500 from multiple investors into a property they choose, earning rental income and capital growth with zero hassle. 

“We are delighted to have been selected from a highly competitive group ofcandidates to be part of Womena’s inaugural accelerator program forfemale-led tech companies. We see a formidable combination ofWomena’s access to expertise and networks of partners, and our vision, torevolutionize the world of real estate investing through technology.”

5. Mrayti, from Jordan 

A unique mobile salon for the Arab world run by Romouz Sadeq, Hani Alaraj, and Mohammed Momani where customers can book different services of their choosing, with a booking system for stylists and artists integrated with their calendars. 

“We believe Womentum could launch Mrayti into the Arab world after asuccessful pilot in Amman. We want our ideas challenged, tested and exposed, and we can't wait for it to happen within the Womentum program.”

6. Mathaqi from Saudi Arabia

Mathaqi is an authentic home-cooked meals from a variety of international cuisines delivered to users on demand. The team behind it are Nouf Al Saleem, Al Ameen Rasheed, and Burhan Hussain.

“The things that got us excited is the the uniqueness of the program: Noupfront stake or equity giveaway and exposure to international and regional investors and mentors. We are also excited about the visit to Germany, which will help us understand the work that we need to do on our businessmodel in order to scale internationally.”

7. Zelij from Morocco

This team from Morocco, composed of Houda Miroche, Saif Eddine Laalej, and Maroua Soumia, is working to turn plastic waste into sustainable building materials, such as eco-friendly paving stones and floor tiles made from plastic waste. 

“For the Z team, it's time to scale. From Morocco to Berlin to Dubai, it's time for us to shine internationally thanks to the Womentum program. Letthe adventure begin!”

8. Jaazi from Saudi Arabia and UAE

Dara Alsulayman, based in both KSA and UAE, has established Jaazi, an employee engagement tool that looks to combat disengagement in the workplace using a perks and benefits marketplace and a pulse- survey tool. 

“I am excited to be a part of a pioneering program that supports female entrepreneurs from all over the region and works to build a communityaround them," Alsulayman says. "I can’t wait to engage with so many incredible women and to be a part of each other’s entrepreneurial journey.”

9. Furnwish, from Egypt

Started by Reham Elmasry and her coo-founder Ingi Naguib, along with Ahmed Amin, Furnwish is also joining Womentum's first cohort. Using immersive augmented reality experiences to empower homeowners in discovering, visualizing and interacting with furniture in the space it will live in, making it more practical to shop for furniture and home decor. 

“We believe that Womentum is the perfect platform to introduce us to the MENA ecosystem, help us accelerate our growth and showcase our visionand our passion toward innovation and disruptive technologies.”

10. Humanitas from Jordan

Humanitas is a startup run by Philip Chao, Julia Solano, and Aravindh Ravisankar. It is a mobile video app Dandi enables organisations and youth to collaborate on local community issues, using AI to make sense of that data and present it in a localized analytics dashboard useful for organizations and donors. 

“Womentum seems like a fantastic opportunity to build our product, maximise our reach and market to relevant audiences. We’re so excited to be plugged into this network of empowering female entrepreneurs and mentors.”

Photos courtesy of Womena.

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