Ma'an incubator helps 12 start-ups to solve financial literacy and EdTech challenges

The early stage companies gained access to workshops, training, potential investors and funding opportunities

Abu Dhabi's Ma’an social incubator provides start-ups with the support to develop solutions that benefit society. Shutterstock
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Financial literacy and education technology were the focus for 12 Abu Dhabi start-ups taking part in the latest Ma'an Social Incubator (MSI) programme as the emirate continues to pursue plans to become a global centre for entrepreneurship and equip Emiratis with smart money skills to contribute to its long-term economic growth.

The sixth cycle of the incubator, held under the theme of Entrepreneurship for Social Good, was organised as part of a partnership between the Authority of Social Contribution, known as Ma’an, and startAD, the business accelerator based at NYU Abu Dhabi, Ma'an said on Thursday.

The incubator helped to empower and equip the entrepreneurs to develop solutions applicable to the financial literacy and education technology (EdTech) sectors, it said.

“With the support of the incubator and its partners, they have tackled the challenges of financial literacy and education technology in ways that are destined to have genuine social impacts,” said Salama Al Ameemi, director general of Ma’an.

“Our incubator focuses on Abu Dhabi’s social priorities, including financial literacy and education technologies. Both topics play a vivid role in our nation’s future and will help impact our economy.”

Founded in February 2019 by the Department of Community Development Abu Dhabi, Ma’an is part of the emirate’s Dh50 billion ($13.6bn) Ghadan 21 accelerator programme.

Ma’an aims to bring together the government, private sector and civil society to support innovative solutions and contribute to the development of inclusive communities.

It has launched several programmes through its five pillars of work, which include social impact bonds, a social incubator and accelerator programme, a social investment fund, community engagement and outreach management.

The social incubator programme supports early stage social start-ups. Twice a year, the Ma’an social incubator selects promising start-ups and provides them with the resources and support to develop high-impact solutions and scale up sustainable businesses that benefit society, it said.

Personal finance assistant platform Lune was among the 12 start-ups that participated in the sixth cycle of the Ma’an incubator. The FinTech company partners with banks and companies to improve users' financial literacy and well-being.

Other start-ups that participated in the programme include FinStart Arabia, a company that designs financial literacy programmes for Emirati youths; Cashee, a venture that teaches teenagers how to manage money; Squirrel, a financial literacy platform for pupils; and Edfundo, a money management app built by teachers for children and teenagers.

The EdTech start-ups included Reedz, a mobile app offering 20-minute Arabic audiobook summaries; Tutoruu, a tutoring network connecting high-achieving undergraduate students with struggling peers; and Skillplay, a platform that helps students learn future skills, as well as secure internships and earn certifications and prizes by playing a one-minute game daily.

EdTech start-up Playbook, a global edutainment platform for women seeking leadership roles; La Talli, a platform that displays independent designers’ products; Geek Express, a Mena-focused online technology school with an accredited K-12 curriculum; and Kam Kalima, a company that offers learning spaces to help “today’s schools teach the Arabic needed for tomorrow”, also took part in the programme.

The 12 start-ups benefitted from workshops, training, mentorship sessions and office space. They also had access to potential investors and funding opportunities, Ma’an said.

Through the authority's partnerships, the participants were given access to ecosystem, funding, media and sector-specific partners, it said.

The MSI has already led to the incubation of 53 social enterprises and acceleration of 21 existing non-profit organisations that address its five social priority topics.

With the incubator’s support, more than 40 start-ups have also been licensed or are in the process of securing the required permits, Ma’an said.

The social incubator is currently seeking start-up applications for its seventh cohort, which will require participants to create solutions to help solve social challenges for sustainable cities and communities, according to Ma’an’s website.

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Updated: July 29, 2022, 7:11 AM
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