• Ma’an Social Incubator and Accelerator has highlighted the impressive milestones achieved through the first three Social Incubator programmes 
  • The initiative has incubated 30 social start-ups so far with access to AED 6 million worth of support  
  • More than 15,000 beneficiaries have been positively impacted as a result of the participating enterprises 

Abu Dhabi: The Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an, has announced that as a result of the Ma’an Social Incubator (MSI) 30 social start-ups have been successfully launched, providing solutions to Abu Dhabi’s social challenges and positively impacting more than 15,000 beneficiaries within the emirate.  

Through its championing of social entrepreneurship, Ma’an has supported 30 social start-ups through three cohorts of MSI, providing more than AED 6 million worth of support to produce effective enterprises, which address the specific social needs of Abu Dhabi, which have been identified through the Quality of Life survey and Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development, whilst also contributing to the wider economy.   

MSI works closely with relevant partners to understand the needs of both, businesses and Government.  

Since its launch in May 2019, more than 800 applications have been received from across 21 different countries, spanning five continents, from entrepreneurs with innovative concepts, each aiming to address the cohort’s specific theme.  

H.E Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, said: “We are extremely proud of the milestones achieved through our Ma’an Social Incubator. Since the announcement of its inaugural cohort, we have been overwhelmed by the response from so many creative and forward-thinking social start-ups from all over the world.  

“Seeing how the social entrepreneurs have utilised their deep understanding of the social priorities to create innovative solutions and use the MSI platform to grow their ideas into social enterprises has been magnificent to see.  

“Through empowering social entrepreneurs to grow their business ideas, we will be able to enhance the third sector, growing a healthy and strong network of social enterprises and not-for-profit associations, benefitting Abu Dhabi.”  

Three cohorts have been launched so far, each aimed at empowering social entrepreneurs to grow their ideas into social enterprises through offering milestone funding, mentorship, office space, business expertise and access to investors. 

The theme of Cohort 01 was focused on developing solutions to enhance the quality of life for People of Determination. The shortlisted ventures included a platform to provide effective accessibility for People of Determination, empowering them to use assistive technology via an app which offers instant translation of sign language for everyone’s use and an inclusive, safe, seasonal, mobile and sleepover camp for Children of Determination.  

Cohort 02 focused on enhancing the mental wellbeing of residents in Abu Dhabi, with the shortlisted start-ups creating solutions such as mindfulness apps, supportive guidance for young girls through interactive workshops, an online platform and podcast supporting post-natal mothers on their mental health journey, and online yoga and meditation classes in Arabic.  

Cohort 03 focused on encouraging and improving Family Cohesion, with innovative solutions including online storytelling sessions, an app to coach families on how to resolve disputes, a Fit Family programme, and an interactive and engaging programme designed to address the issue of lack of communication within families.  

In total, Ma’an has allocated an impressive AED 6 million in milestone funding to empower the social start-ups. 

Jose Rubinger, owner of Key2Enable, the software empowering People of Determination to use technology, and Cohort 01 participant said: “Becoming part of the Ma’an Social Incubator program has been one of the biggest milestones of Key2Enable’s journey. This unique experience with all the mentors, events, the acceleration process, and their strong network connections and expertise in dealing with the government and private sector led us to open our Middle East business unit in Abu Dhabi.  If you are looking for innovation and technology to succeed, inspire, and create a positive social impact, you have to consider applying to Ma’an programmes.” 

Farah Alqaissieh, owner of Guiding Stars, the online platform and podcast supporting mothers in their mental health journey and Cohort 02 participant, said: “Going through the MSI programme allowed me to be equipped with the toolkits and strategies needed to develop an idea into a project. Across all the amazing projects, there has always been a spirit of collaboration and support. We are grateful to the MSI team for guiding us through this journey and continuing to support us even after graduation.”  

Anisa Ismail, owner of The Unplugged Initiative, a toolkit to stow away electrical devices and encourage family games, and Cohort 03 participant, said: “There are some experiences in life that are an abundance of blessings in more than one way. That is how I feel about this programme. As an entrepreneur, the journey of making your vision come to life can feel so lonely, but with Ma’an MSI programme, I can feel the support on all fronts. I am learning things I never knew and understanding my vision in a new light. And the best thing is that I feel like I’m part of a huge family dynamic, with a safe space for learning and growth.” 

Cycle 04 of the MSIA will launch towards the end of the year, incubating 10 more winning start-ups. 

A full list of the teams include:  

Cohort 01// Enhancing the lives for People of Determination:  

  • Key2Enable // @key2enable_uae // Empowering People of Determination to use tablets, computers and smartphones with adapted hardware, software and accessories  
  • Heroes of Hope // @heroes_of_hope_ // Social enterprise delivering equal opportunities for People of Determination including recreational activities, work opportunities and sporting events  
  • I Hear You // @IHEARYOO // Mobile app that enables communication from text/audio to sign language and vice versa 
  • Inclusive //  @iminclusive // Online platform that connects People of Determination to their local community, including them fully in accessible jobs, events and opportunities 
  • The Camp // Inclusion-safe, seasonal, remote sleepover and day camps for all. Children, including Children of Determination in the UAE 
  • NEXART // @nexart.ai // Solution for people with complete visual impairment to recognize and navigate their surroundings through the power of visual recognition and simple distance judging technology  
  • Martha Edu // @marthaeduapp // Educational smart cards and mobile app to educate hearing impaired children and parents on signing language  
  • The Butterfly Foundation // @thebutterflyfoundation.ae Advocacy agency to bring support and empowerment in the hands of People of Determination in Abu Dhabi  
  • Rab3i //  @rab3i.platform // Social venture offering People of Determination an opportunity to attend recreational activities with a trained “buddy” who shares similar interests  

Cohort 02// Mental Health and Wellbeing 

  • Nafas Meditation App //  @nafasmena // Nafas app provides a wider library of meditation content that allows Arabic user to reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia through instilling the practice of mindfulness 
  • Himma Social Initiative // @himmacommunity // Mentoring through afterschool workshops to build self esteem, raise awareness about mental wellbeing, helping them discover their competencies and develop new skills. They have also launched a new podcast called #HimmaSpeaks where young girls aged 10 – 16 discuss various emotional and mental issues.  
  • Guiding Stars // @guidingstars // Guiding stars in an online platform and podcast supporting mothers in their mental health journey  
  • Hold my Umbrella