For its latest cycle, Womena's accelerator has identified and backed five of the most uniquely impactful startups in the region, with three receiving equity-free investments.
Targeting innovators that are working to build communities and driving change in the MENA region, Womena has graduated an impressive five-startup cohort from its the third and latest cycle of its Womentum Accelerator.
Despite the potential stumbling block of having to run the accelerator virtually in light of the ongoing pandemic, Womentum founder, Elissa Freiha, and her team managed to complete the three-month programme without a hitch, equipping the chosen startups with the tools (and funding) needed to scale their startups regionally.
Teaming up with Standard Chartered’s global ‘Women in Tech’ initiative, $30,000 in equity-free funding was awarded to the top three startups in the accelerator, marking the second year that the two entities have collaborated.
Taking first place and the $15,000 prize is Egyptian edtech startup, Explore Agora, which uses gamified learning experience to simultaneously elevate education and ground it in the real world. Founded by Dima Sorri (pictured in main image), the startup has won acclaim for all corners for its innovative use of machine learning and AI.
Majid Alqassimi, Leila Hamadeh and Mshari Alonaizy are heading back to UAE $10,000 richer, meanwhile, after their startup, Finyal Media, came in second place. In a MENA-wdie market that has still to full embrace the advent of podcasts, Finyal Media has been praised for its content, which targets Arab youth and focuses on regional culture and heritage. Founded by Shadan Nassar (pictured below) Palestine's Shadana Yoga clinched third place, taking home $5,000 to continue its increasingly popular online holistic healing courses.
Though they missed out on the prizes, the Womena team have been keen to praise Egypt-based champion of natural beauty and online store, The Hair Addict, and kindred spirit, Mint Basil Market, a Lebanese e-commerce platform that offers its users natural products and in-house health experts. The two round off this cycle’s graduates, marking arguably the most diverse and expansive Womentum cohort yet and cementing the accelerator as one of the most untraditional in the region.
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