Ma’an Social Incubator Introduces Cohort 7: ‘Entrepreneurship for Social Good’ Putting Sustainability at the Forefront

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Abu Dhabi: The Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an today announced the launch of the 7th cohort of the Ma’an Social Incubator (MSI). The MSI’s 7th cohort seeks applications from bright new minds tackling the theme of “Entrepreneurship for Social Good,” emphasising Green Cities, Circular Economy, and Sustainable Transport.

The launch of the 7th cohort is in partnership with the Making Prosperity initiative, an impact initiative that runs the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Maker Challenge – an open-innovation platform where some of the world’s most innovative start-ups compete to solve real-world challenges affecting people’s lives.

Ma’an is collaborating with key partners such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Maker Challenge and StartAD to attract start-ups and entrepreneurs from around the world to address key challenges in advancing sustainable urbanisation and equitable economic development, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, the Director General of Ma’an, said: “With growing populations, urbanisation and climate change posing critical sustainability challenges, now is the time to enable new innovators to help secure our future. Abu Dhabi has demonstrated its vital role in creating a prosperous and sustainable future, ranked among the smartest cities in the Middle East and North Africa region in the ‘Smart City Index 2021’,

Her Excellency pointed out that it is crucial to empower the ‘third’ sector to also generate impactful solutions for a sustainable future, adding: “As a nexus for public, private and ‘third’ sector-level enterprise and investment, Ma’an is empowering bright entrepreneurial minds to catalyse real change that will have a profound and lasting social impact. The MSI’s 7th Cohort will lead the way through socially impactful entrepreneurship and sustainable solutions that will bring together the public, private and ‘third’ sectors to create profoundly beneficial and lasting organic change.”

The MSI’s 7th Cohort is launched as part of the “Decade of Action Challenge,” a 10-year initiative by Making Prosperity and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) that seeks to promote sustainable and inclusive urban development through innovative solutions, partnerships, and transformative ideas. The 7th cohort will present the Challenge Question to the global start-up community to source technological and innovative solutions via submissions on the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Maker Challenge open innovation platform.

Badr Al-Olama, Head of the Making Prosperity initiative said: “As an open-innovation platform, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Maker Challenge aims to encourage an international community of innovators to develop solutions that can be deployed towards supporting societies that are facing pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. We are excited about our partnership with Ma’an and UN-Habitat and look forward to seeing some cutting-edge solutions being deployed in Abu Dhabi and around the world.”

The MSI’s new cohort will also benefit from Ma’an’s partnership with startAD, the start-up accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Ramesh Jagannathan, Managing Director of startAD said: “With technological advancements and digitisation, the quest for sustainability, and changes in consumer behaviour, it is clear that there is an undeniable need for the industry to evolve with social impact at its core. With its push for social impact, tech innovation, safe-haven status, business-friendly economy, and sound regulatory environment, Abu Dhabi is becoming the ideal place to grow a global social impact business and we invite start-ups to utilise the opportunity. startAD is proud to partner with Ma’an, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Maker Challenge, and the UN-Habitat to drive the digitisation of the global real-estate industry from Abu Dhabi, building a shared economy and smart, sustainable communities.”

The MSI is a dynamic accelerator that enables new enterprises to develop breakthrough solutions that fulfil their business objectives and serve the Abu Dhabi community. Through its biannual call for new cohorts, the Incubator offers significant resources and support to up to twelve successful applicants to help them to innovate, grow, and thrive. As a key aim, the MSI identifies and advances the best early-stage entrepreneurs to nurture the development of innovative social impact start-ups and their scaling up into social enterprises or not-for-profit associations.

Based on the viability of their business models, the teams selected for the 7th cohort will be offered specially tailored support to ensure that their innovations bring substantive positive change to the lives of the Abu Dhabi community and targeted groups. Following the application deadline on 16 September 2022, the successful teams will benefit from a wide range of learning, mentoring, funding, and networking opportunities that include an exclusive opportunity to exhibit their business proposals at a “Demo Day,” in January 2023 during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

With its proactive approach to building a tolerant and inclusive society founded on cohesive families that are prosperous, healthy, socially and financially responsible while also caring for both youths and senior citizens and enabling an engaged and caring community, Ma’an will continue to address social priorities by driving social impact through organic creativity and innovation, and drawing on the resources of all social sectors. By helping to build cohesive communities, empower individuals, and encourage personal responsibility, the Authority is enabling a significant and positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals living in Abu Dhabi, including People of Determination, families, senior citizens, orphans and students.

About Ma’an

Founded in February 2019 by the Department of Community Development Abu Dhabi, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an drives social innovation and builds a culture of social contribution and participation to address social priorities in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Ma’an brings together the government, private sector and civil society with the objective of supporting innovative solutions and contributing to the development of strong, active, collaborative and inclusive communities.

The Authority has launched several pioneering programmes through its five pillars of work – Social Impact Bonds, Social Incubator and Accelerator programme, Social Investment Fund, Community Engagement and Outreach Management to deliver solutions and make life-changing differences for Abu Dhabi residents. To this end, Ma’an provides resources and support to seed and grow community-based organisations, raise and allocate funds towards community-based organisations and social initiatives, and promote community engagement and a culture of volunteering. Ma’an is a ‘Ghadan 21’ accelerator programme initiative, supporting Abu Dhabi to become one of the best places in the world to invest, live, work and visit.