The grant is part of a $1 million fund established by both platforms earlier this year, under the global #UbuntuLoveChallenge initiative.
Earlier this year, when the Coronavirus crisis had begun to trigger an unmatched economic downturn, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) and CE-Ventures established a $1 million Startup Solidarity Fund to alleviate the consequences startups were facing. Now, the joint initiative has disbursed more than AED 700,000 in equity-free grants to 11 startups.
The fund is meant to provide the selected startups with the resources and capital to weather the challenges and remain afloat as they manoeuvre an unprecedented global economic and health crisis. In a report detailing the MENA region’s startup funding in H1 2020, MAGNiTT founder Philip Bahoshy states that the full economic impact of COVID-19 is still likely to hit later this year.
The 11 startups hail from industries that have been both negatively and positively affected by the pandemic. The industries include retail, fintech, real estate, travel & tourism, agriculture, education, tech and creative.
The joint fund came as part of the #UbuntuLoveChallenge, a global initiative championed by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sheraa, and Mamadou Kwidjim Toure, founder of the Africa 2.0 Foundation. The movement was created with the core mission to restore hope where COVID has festered, in an effort to inspire different facets of society to keep on fighting any challenges they find themselves having to untangle.
Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, says: “Injecting emergency capital into Sheraa startups that have been unduly affected by the pandemic has been a top priority to ensure they are able to quickly recover and resume their stride. Our partnership with CE-Ventures has been crucial in selecting startups that are able to benefit in the long run. The collaboration is a testimony to our mutual dedication to building a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem that contributes to a thriving economy.”
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