Sun 09-08-2020 20:51 PM
SHARJAH, 9th August, 2020 (WAM) -- Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center, Sheraa, and CE-Ventures have disbursed more than AED 700,000 in equity-free grants to 11 startups, offering them a lifeline to ensure they remain afloat as they navigate current economic challenges.
The 11 selected startups operate in the retail, real estate, fintech, travel and tourism, agriculture, education, technology and creative sectors. Sheraa and CE-Ventures’ effort to support local industries is part of Sharjah’s keen interest in promoting and supporting startups in a variety of sectors that continue to contribute to the emirate’s strong and diversified economy.
This joint fund falls under the #UbuntuLoveChallenge, a global initiative spearheaded by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sheraa, and Mamadou Kwidjim Toure, founder of the Africa 2.0 Foundation. The collaboration between CE-Ventures and Sheraa follows Sheraa’s $1 million Startup Solidarity Fund announcement made earlier this year.
Regarding their work, Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said, "Injecting emergency capital into Sheraa startups that have been unduly affected by the pandemic has been a top priority to ensure they are able to quickly recover and resume their stride. Our partnership with CE-Ventures has been crucial in selecting startups that are able to benefit, in the long run. The collaboration is a testimony to our mutual dedication to building a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem that contributes to a thriving economy."
The application process began in May 2020, with eligible startups being shortlisted by a committee composed of members from CE-Ventures, Sheraa and an independent venture capital firm. Each startup was evaluated based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data across three main areas: Cash Flow, Product and Business Model, and Team. This allowed an assessment on key business functions of the startups, as well as their outlook post-Covid 19.
Candidates were requested to submit detailed business plans that attested to the startup’s performance, based upon revenue and profitability prior to the pandemic, as well as their ability to mitigate the current negative impact of COVID-19. Apart from technical assessments, the shortlisting process also reviewed the startup teams’ competencies and expertise, to help gauge their capacity to manage their business during the present crisis, and capability to effectively utilize incoming funds to grow their businesses.