Ma'an introduces 12 new social start-ups – ZAWYA

That address financial literacy and education technology in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi: The Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an today, marked the completion of Ma’an Social Incubator’s (MSI) 6th Cohort and first of 2022, with 12 participating start-ups that have developed their business ideas within the Incubator. The 6th Cohort was organised as part of the strategic partnership between Ma’an and startAD, the business accelerator based at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Under the theme of ‘Entrepreneurship for Social Good’, the 6th Cohort helped empower and equip these social entrepreneurs in the development of innovative solutions applicable to the financial literacy and education technology (EdTech) sectors. The event was attended by H.E. Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development and H.E. Salama Al Ameemi, the Director General of Ma’an.
Twice a year, MSI selects promising start-ups and provides them with the resources and support to grow and thrive in their quest to develop high-impact solutions and scale up sustainable businesses that benefit society. The 6th Cohort was selected based on their exciting and creative proposals to develop projects that will enable the third sector to flourish in Abu Dhabi and inspire social entrepreneurs to contribute to the development of strong, active, and connected communities and the growth and the diversification of the UAE economy.
Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi said: “We are delighted to witness today the successful Demo Day of the Ma’an Social Incubator’s 6th Cohort of 12 startups. With the support of the Incubator and its partners, they have made great strides in bringing their inspiring and innovative ideas and projects to life and have tackled the challenges of financial literacy and education technology in ways that are destined to have genuine social impacts.”
“It is crucial that we immerse ourselves in committing to initiatives that help flourish the Abu Dhabi community, which is why our MSI focuses immensely on the Emirate’s social priorities, including  financial literacy and education technologies. Both topics play a vivid role in our nation’s visionary future and will help impact our economy.”
“Furthermore, such impacts demonstrate the effectiveness of the Department of Community Development's strategy to support the growth of the 'third sector,' as a means of bringing the community together to enable entrepreneurs and innovators to address Abu Dhabi's social priorities,” concluded Her Excellency.
With a focus on financial literacy, Lune is an enterprise partnering with banks and companies to improve their customers’ financial literacy and well-being through simplified financial data and money management features. FinStart Arabia is a social-impact startup that designs and delivers innovative, learner-centred, and community-based financial literacy programs to sustainably change Emirati youths’ and young adults’ financial behaviours. Cashee empowers and educates teens on how to manage their money so that they grow up to become financially responsible adults. Squirrel is a financial literacy platform for students that gamifies the money management and financial decision-making faced by adults daily. Edfundo is developing the UAE's first money management app built by teachers for the benefit of kids and teens.
The EdTech startups honoured include Reedz, a mobile app offering 20-min Arabic audiobook summaries of the world's best-selling books along with a podcast library. Tutoruu is a tutoring network connecting high-achieving undergraduate students with struggling peers in need of help. Skillplay helps students learn future skills, earn internships, certifications, and exciting prizes by playing a daily 1 minute game. Playbook is a global edutainment platform for women seeking leadership roles through a diverse digital academy of masterclasses. La Talli is a platform for displaying independent designers' products reflecting the UAE’s heritage, culture, traditions and art. Geek Express is the first MENA-focused, online technology school preparing kids for the future job market with an accredited K-12 curriculum. Kam Kalima offers innovative learning spaces in helping today's schools teach the Arabic language needed for tomorrow.
The 6th cohort’s participants have benefited from bespoke workshops, training, mentorship, and office space, along with access to networks, potential investors, and funding opportunities. Through Ma’an’s strategic partnerships, the startups also secured exposure to an integrated environment of ecosystem and sector-specific partners, funders, and media outlets.
As one of Ma’an’s five key pillars, MSI fosters national innovation and entrepreneurship to develop solutions that address social, cultural, and environmental challenges. The MSI's impressive record to date has already led to the incubation of 53 social enterprises and acceleration of 21 existing Not-for-Profit organizations to address 5 social priority topics. With the Incubator’s support, more than 40 startups have been licensed or are in the process of securing licensing with 361 deals having been negotiated and nearly 200,000 beneficiaries impacted.
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 to support innovative solutions and contribute 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. 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.
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