Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre rolls out new programme for start-ups seeking funding

The six-week initiative will provide start-ups with topics such as investment strategy and product marketing among others

08.09.16 The new Entrepreneurship Centre (‘Sheraa’) located at the American University in Sharjah. Anna Nielsen for The National.
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The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre unveiled a six-week programme for start-ups looking to secure seed funding.

The programme will introduce prospective entrepreneurs to topics such as understanding of value proposition, designing a competitive strategy,  risk response, market sizing, finance, fundraising, and pitch training that will aid them in developing their investment deck, ensuring start-ups are “seed-ready”, the centre said in a statement.

Sheraa said it shortlisted six start-ups from 250 applications. The sucessful start-ups will receive coaching, group sessions, access to a Sheraa grant of up to $ 10,000, introduction and networking with investors, product mentorship for six to 12 months after the programme, legal support, discounted trade licence fees, discounted software packages and access to media coverage.

“At Sheraa, we believe that for start-ups to truly be investment-ready, they must achieve product-market fit, where their product meets a strong demand,” said Najla Al Midfa, chief executive of Sheraa. “We select a handful of impact-driven start-ups whose mission and founders we believe in, and focus on providing customised, individualised mentorship as they work to reach this key milestone.”

Meanwhile start-ups, that apply for the programme but are at the pre-seed stage, will receive a checklist of conditions they need to fulfil in order to qualify and join the next seed cohort, Sheraa said. Pre-seed teams will have access to resources, including business, legal and technical office hours, discounted trade licence and discounted software packages.

Sheraa, which is Arabic for sail, is Sharjah’s initiative to build a start-up ecosystem in the emirate. It is headquartered at the American University of Sharjah and its hub, launched in September 2018, is based at the University of Sharjah. The incubator has helped founders scale their businesses, through workshops, mentorships, introductions to investors, government partners and corporate entities to help them secure access to growth capital.