Cairo – The American University in Cairo’s Venture Lab (AUC V-Lab) launched the Innovation Fund Award in partnership with Oxfam and the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP). The V-Lab startups received this exclusive award in light of the increasing challenges that face startups since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award-winning accelerator offered up to EGP 120K awards to each of the nine V-Lab graduate startups who managed to create innovative solutions and empower the community through job creation and impact, especially in financial inclusion, green economy, social impact and inclusion, agri-tech, health-tech and ed-tech.

“We really wanted to offer our startups a boost through this fund. These startups are creating a wonderful impact and the award highlights and celebrates their stories and empowers them with funding that would help them expand their operations and provide better support to their communities,” said Ayman Ismail, AUC Venture Lab director and Abdul Latif Jameel endowed chair of entrepreneurship at AUC School of Business.

“Oxfam is very proud of our partnership with AUC Venture Lab with the support of the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme to see the Innovation fund award winners for 2021/2022. Egyptian youth have come up with innovative ideas that will now become a reality, supporting more growth and more social inclusion. We have developed the prizes in partnership with AUC V-Lab to provide immediate support to these youth entrepreneurs who can innovatively respond to current market problems and needs,” said Mirjam van Dorssen, Director North Africa Sub-Region at Oxfam.

The winners of the 2021 Innovation Fund Award work include Brandloca, an online platform connecting Egyptian consumers with different local fashion brands, including factories that typically only sell offline. On the ed-tech front, Orcas, Science Crafts and Skilldi were selected. Orcas, the ed-tech platform, connects parents and students with tutors for offline and online services and has recently announced expansion plans in MENAP. Science Crafts develops innovative products and tools for interactive, hands-on learning while Skilldi helps Arabic-speaking learners master information technology and entrepreneurship. 

“This award gives us confidence and a push towards realizing our mission of providing effective and accessible skill-building experiences to help individuals lead the life they aspire for,” said Mohamed Abdallah, founder of Skilldi.

From the health-tech world, SehaTech, a platform that streamlines communication and monetary transactions between the healthcare system’s stakeholders was selected along with Clickmare, a startup providing micro health insurance as a service helping individuals get the medical care they need while saving up to 65% of the cost. Other winners included: Turbo One, an automotive services marketplace that connects customers with service providers; Logista, a fleet management solution streamlining delivery operations and NEQABTY, an online platform availing the services of syndicates to their members online. 

To date, the university-based startup accelerator has graduated more than 270 startups that have created 10,000 jobs and generated more than $50 million in revenues.The award announcement came as the accelerator kicked off its Arab African International Bank Cycle 18 and Spring’22 Fintech Cycle.  

In 2021, AUC Venture Lab was selected as the “Best Accelerator in North Africa” by Global Startups Awards, ranking V-Lab among the top 60 African digital future shapers from a pool of 7,600 nominees.

Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 40 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.