The Authority of Social Contribution, also known as Ma’an, has entered a three-year partnership with startAD, the business accelerator based at NYU Abu Dhabi, to support the emirate’s ambitions to become a global hub for entrepreneurship.
Together, they will run six cycles of Ma’an’s social incubator programme. The partnership will include research fellowships and annual social impact symposiums overseen by an academic advisory board.
“We believe in the strength of the collective to unlock social innovation and unleash the potential of our homegrown social entrepreneurs,” said Faisal Al Hamoudi, the authority’s executive director for social incubator and contracting.
“Our goal is to enhance and nurture the third sector of non-profit organisations, foundations and social enterprises to drive social innovation and bring global best practice to address the diverse needs of the community.”
Ma’an drives intellectual leadership in social innovation, research fellowships and annual social impact symposiums through an academic advisory board of faculty members and other experts.
Founded in February 2019 by the Department of Community Development Abu Dhabi, it is part of the emirate’s Dh50 billion ($13.6bn) Ghadan 21 accelerator programme.
It offers social impact bonds, a social incubator and accelerator programme, a social investment fund, community engagement and outreach management.
The sixth cycle of the Ma’an social incubator programme, under the theme of ‘Entrepreneurship for Social Good’, will be for social entrepreneurs in the financial literacy and education technology sectors and will focus on women entrepreneurs, the statement said.
The social incubator programme plans to support early-stage social start-ups and is open to those with a “robust social mission to revolutionise education through technology, improve financial awareness, simplify investments, or optimise personal finance habits”, Ma’an said.
Applications will open on March 18 and close by May 8. Up to 12 start-ups will be selected for the cohort and introduced to the programme.
Start-ups with existing solutions that meet the selection criteria will be shortlisted by Ma’an to undergo a 90-day training programme to transform their ideas into viable and sustainable social ventures.
The cohort participants will undergo workshops and training, mentorship and coaching, and benefit from network access, access to investors, office space and funding opportunities. Through Ma’an’s strategic partnerships, participants will gain access to ecosystem partners, funding partners, media partners and sector-specific partners.
“In a country with such a young and diverse population, an empowered business sector and a strong innovation agenda, we see an unparalleled opportunity to foster social entrepreneurial spirit and provide businesses with the tools to grow their businesses for the benefit of society,” the statement said.