MA’AN ANNOUNCES THE 10 SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURIAL TEAMS THAT WILL DEVELOP INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO HELP PROTECT ABU DHABI’S ENVIRONMENT

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  • A total of 244 applications received from around the world for businesses to support environmental change and solutions. the fourth cohort.
  • The 10 teams, made up of 24 individuals have been recognised for their ideas, and will undergo a 90-day programme to develop their idea into a sustainable business venture.
Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an

Abu Dhabi: The Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an has today revealed the 10 winning teams for the fourth cohort of its Ma’an Social Incubator that will see social entrepreneurs develop their original ideas into sustainable solutions to help protect Abu Dhabi’s environment.

Designed to find innovative solutions to minimize waste and single-use plastics and promote sustainable ecotourism within the Emirate, among the winning projects of the programme are an app that allows customers to buy discounted best-by items from supermarkets and an environmentally friendly building material that can be used as an alternative to plastic and cement.

Other winning projects include a device that informs sailors with data of endangered species and protected areas and a detecting software for waste sorting facilities to recover recyclable items and monitor waste characterisation.

The 10 teams were among the 244 applications from around the world that were received for this cohort, which is based on the ‘Environment’. The theme has been identified as an important social priority in Abu Dhabi.

According to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), which Ma’an has partnered with for this cohort, 13 million tonnes of plastic are entering oceans every year while there are 9.8 million tonnes of solid waste being found in the Emirate.

The teams, represented by 24 enthusiastic and talented social entrepreneurs who come from different countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Lebanon, Egypt and Sweden, will work on addressing these challenges through the Ma’an Social Incubator by transforming their ideas into real products and services that will have a positive impact on the environment.

A first-of-its-kind in the region, the Ma’an Social Incubator aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by helping deliver solutions to the social challenges being faced today in Abu Dhabi. It also plays a pivotal role in growing Abu Dhabi’s third sector through supporting not-for-profits and social enterprises to contribute to the development of strong, active and connected communities.

During the three months, teams will develop their innovative ideas into strong business ventures and have access to milestone-based funding, mentorship, office space, business expertise and investors.

Since launching in 2019, the Ma’an Social Incubator has helped improve the everyday lives for People of Determination, enhance the mental wellbeing and make families more stronger and connected in Abu Dhabi, benefitting more than 15,000 beneficiaries.

Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an, said: “The Ma’an Social Incubator has proven to be one of our most popular programmes, generating a lot of interest from aspiring social entrepreneurs and this cohort has been no different. To receive more than 240 applications from a diverse range of applicants including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Sweden, Russia and the Netherlands is remarkable and this shows that more people are seriously looking at social entrepreneurship as a career option.

“As with the previous cohorts, we have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the original ideas and the creativity of the social entrepreneurs during the selection process and although we had difficult decisions to make, we strongly believe the 10 winning teams that have been selected will make a huge difference to Abu Dhabi’s environment in the future.

“With the environment becoming more important than before and as one of Abu Dhabi’s social priorities, it is essential that we offer a helping hand now. Our strategic partners – EAD has been doing a wonderful job in conserving the environment across the Emirate and by collaborating with them it has provided a platform for social entrepreneurs to step forward and be at the centre of solving some of the significant environmental challenges that we are facing today by creating excellent and sustainable products that will benefit our nature as well as the residents and citizens.

“We look forward to working with the teams in what will be a unique experience for everyone.”

Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD’s Secretary General from her side said: “The Ma’an Social Incubator is the ideal platform to motivate and encourage social entrepreneurs to present their award-winning ideas. This recent fourth cohort, which is dedicated to the environment, proves that community awareness surrounding this significant topic is extremely high. All the ideas were innovative, creative, and pioneering, and this is exactly what is required. In collaboration with Ma’an we look forward to working with all the winners to bring their ideas to life.”

She added: “Single use plastic, waste management and eco-tourism are high priority topics and are an integral part of our mandate at EAD, as well as for the UAE government. We believe that engaging with the community is the most ideal path forward and programmes such as the Social Incubator helps create an environmentally responsible community that knows just how important it is to conserve it.’’

She further stated: “With so many applications from across the globe applying to win, it means that the global rhetoric about the environment being an extremely important agenda is circulating rapidly on an international level.  It also boosts future hope that we can all work together towards a common goal of combatting the challenges that all countries face regarding the preservation of the environment.

The 10 selected teams and its solutions are:

  • CUPMENA – An affordable mushroom-based coffee ground product that is readily available, which reuses coffee grounds that are sold in cafes.
  • Diwama – A computer detection software for waste sorting facilities to track residues and recover recyclable items as well as monitoring waste characterisation.
  • Bazaara – A tech-enabled marketplace where through an app, individuals can exchange clothing and accessories, offering a seamless experience between buyers and sellers.
  • ReTech – A application that reduces waste management through paperless invoicing.
  • Nadeera –  A QR-code based tracking and verification application that manages waste through resident engagement and rewards.
  • Texcylia – A mushroom-based product that can be used as an alternative for Styrofoam.
  • G-Cement – Creating a building material that can be an alternative to plastic and cement and does not burn fuel, not hazardous and does not emit CO2 emissions.
  • Bestby – An app that offers discounted best-by items from supermarkets and delivered straight to the customer’s doorsteps.
  • Polymeron – Creating an affordable biodegradable plastic, becoming the first producer in the MENA region.
  • Sea Going Green – A device that provides sailors with data of areas with endangered species or protected areas as well as allowing feedback from users.

About Ma’an:

Ma’an was established in February 2019 under the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi with the aim of bringing together the government, the private sector and civil society to support a culture of social contribution and participation. The authority will deliver solutions for social challenges with five main pillars of work – a Social Investment Fund, a Social Incubator Program, Community Engagement Programs and the introduction of a new type of public contracting, Social Impact Bonds, as well as Outreach Management.

Ma’an will support the third sector to flourish in Abu Dhabi, enabling responsible not for profit associations or foundations and social enterprises to contribute to the development of strong, active and connected communities.

Ma’an Authority for Social Contribution is a ‘Ghadan 21’ accelerator programme initiative, supporting Abu Dhabi to become one of the best places in the world to do business, invest, live, work and visit.