We sit down with Susanne Wardani, head of youth banking at MINT Incubator, as she tells us what’s different about the Spring’19 cycle.
After another successful cycle, EGBANK’s one-year-old incubator has graduated 11 startups on December 19th; those startups included Vetwork, Mayday, Lamina, Foorera, Enkaaz, ElMetr, ElGameya, Elephas, Eksab, Biobekia, and Apoteka. Wasting no time, MINT Incubator is calling on emerging entrepreneurs to submit their applications before January 20th to join the incubator's third cycle: Spring'19.
However, that doesn’t mean that these 11 startups are done with MINT. EGBANK’s incubator along with Cairo Angels will be working closely with all startups, giving them the support they need to develop and grow their companies further.
But what is different this year? Is there anything that MINT aspires to change based on the feedback it received from its applicants? We ask Susanne Wardani, MINT’s head of youth banking.
WARDANI: "We have learned a lot about how startups function, what they do and do not need at this particular stage and what potential collaboration with startups could look like. Since we do not take equity in the startups we incubate, we have the chance to work with them objectively, introduce the entrepreneurial mindset internally and seek ways to mutually add value."
WARDANI: "We received feedback from the startups requesting more interactions with industry experts beyond the workshops and mentorship sessions. The entrepreneurs are interested to connect with other successful entrepreneurs from similar industries and learn from their experiences. That's why we're planning on incorporating different activities next cycle that bring success stories to our startups in an informal setting so that they can expand their scope of learnings."
WARDANI: "At the beginning of each cycle, we set individual action plans with milestones for each startup while ensuring they have access to the tools necessary to achieve these goals. Starting next cycle, startups that fail to reach their goals within the indicated time frame will be discontinued from the program. This will be done to maintain the caliber of startups that are enrolled in the program while focusing the MINT Incubator team's efforts in the right direction."
WARDANI: "The beauty of this country is the amount of opportunities out there. Even though MINT Incubator is sector-agnostic, the biggest chunk of applications we receive are from tech based startups. Whether they're fashion, transportation, legal or green energy startups, most of the ones we see are technology enabled."
WARDANI: "We choose judges for the pitch competition based on their experience in investment and/or mentorship. Judges who have an investment background are able to understand startups and evaluate their potential. Others that have experience with mentoring startups are able to identify the key pillars that need development and whether my role as an incubator can add to these startups and help develop it."
WARDANI: "Given that the MINT Incubator program is highly customizable, one of the challenges we faced this cycle was to offer the same quality of tailored support in a highly diversified group of startups representing 10 industries. This diversity was unanticipated yet the potential the team saw in these businesses is what drove us to take on this challenge and bring in such a mixed group of companies. Therefore, we're allocating extra time within the earlier start of the cycle that will be dedicated for setting the tailored development plan with milestones together with the startup."
WARDANI: "The unique nature of the partnership between EGBANK and Cairo Angels in running the incubator brings in a very interesting blend of knowledge, expertise and network that is different than what you'd find elsewhere. On the one hand, Cairo Angels brings in a wealth of experience in investment, understanding needs and challenges of startups and how to tackle them. On the other hand, EGBANK brings in banking know-how that can be particularly relevant to Fin-Tech startups, access to a network of corporate clients and banking partners as well as an asset of highly experienced individuals from different backgrounds whether internally within the bank or externally from the network."
Applications for the upcoming MINT Incubator Spring’19 cycle are now open, apply before January 20th.
*The content of this article is sponsored.
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