(MENAFN- Iris PR) Dubai, UAE; October 13, 2021 — Four startups tackling some of the MENA region’s most pressing sustainability challenges were selected to each receive $20,000 in funding as part of Sustainability MENA 2021, a three-month investment readiness program run by Village Capital with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The four startups, Anda Burada, International Protein, Shadana Yoga, and SunBox, were selected by a group of peer entrepreneurs at the end of the virtual venture development program, which supported 20 startups with training, as well as access to industry experts, mentors, investors and ecosystem networks to scale their ventures.
“Over the past three months, we’ve seen the 20 startups engaged in this program transform in concrete and tangible ways,” said Alicia Sornson, Manager of Programs & Partnerships in MENA at Village Capital. “This is a testament to the need for further investment in the sector, looking beyond profit to develop sustainable enterprise models that improve the resilience of people and planet.”
The 20 entrepreneurs in the program evaluated each other through an investor lens, using eight specific investment criteria that leverage Village Capital’s Abaca Pathway, a framework that enables entrepreneurs to evaluate and better structure their ventures for investment. This process identified Anda Burada, International Protein, Shadana Yoga, and SunBox as “most investment ready.”
The four companies are focused on the following:
- Anda Burada (Turkey) is a mindfulness app designed for kids, parents, and adults of all ages through stories, mindfulness exercises, and guided meditations.
- International Protein (UAE) is an integrated technology company that manufactures, invests and operates ABVRS rendering plants which process animal waste into marketable byproducts in a completely environmentally friendly way.
- Shadana Yoga (Palestine) is the fastest growing Arabic language platform for holistic wellbeing, using methods such as yoga, meditation, and breathing to help users take control of their inner mental and physical space.
- SunBox (Palestine) provides renewable energy to communities through the sale and installation of batteries, solar panels, and inverters in the Middle East.
The remaining companies in the two Sustainability MENA 2021 cohorts were:
- Akyas Sanitation (Jordan) offers an accessible and affordable solution that disinfects pathogens within feces to prevent disease transmission.
- Alefredo Books (Jordan) is a website that allows users to buy and sell books, currently focusing on educational textbooks.
- Duma Toys (Egypt) offers job training and employment making high quality, hand-knitted toys from sustainable materials.
- Bekia (Egypt) is a mobile application that connects households and businesses with collectors who will pick up and pay users for their valuable waste.
- ÇiftçidenEve (Turkey) connects farmers directly to consumers, allowing customers access to high quality products.
- Cupmena (Egypt) builds a waste collection system to collect the spent coffee grounds to maximize value out of it by reusing it to develop, and empower solutions for the Agri-sector.
- Decapolis Co. (Jordan) partners with producers to configure a system specific to the stages of production their product goes through.
- Fresh Source (Egypt) connects smallholder farmers to businesses by providing them with access to financial resources, agri-inputs, and transparent pricing models.
- Green Fashion (Egypt) creates fashionable up-cycled apparel, including bags, jackets, and jeans, from post-consumer waste and fabric waste from textile mills that send nothing to land.
- Hakini (Palestine) provides a website and mobile application with a library of resources on-demand and a matchmaking algorithm to connect users with therapists.
- Hospitalia (Egypt) is an e-health services marketplace that connects patients with multiple in-home healthcare providers including access to top tier health care providers and organizations either through home visits or virtual consultations.
- Mother Being (Egypt) is the first FHE tech startup in Egypt and the MENA region providing reproductive and sexual health education and access to products and services in Arabic and English to reach the masses and reach out to underserved women.
- Natrify (Egypt) provides sustainable solutions through their circular environmental technologies with a focus on the packaging industry for the first period of their operations.
- Plug’n’Grow (Egypt) develops prefabricated agriculture solutions based on hydroponic and aquaponic technologies, that help both open-field and controlled-environment growers to multiply their productivity (up to 25x per square meter) and save more than 90% of water vs. traditional methods.
- Safe Space (UAE) offers live webinars, content, and tools to help maintain and improve the mental health of employees.
- Sawwah (Jordan) connects travellers with locals on their platform through authentic cultural experiences.
The participants were selected with guidance from the Sustainability MENA Advisory Board and the program was executed with local partners Impact Hub Istanbul and the STEP Group.
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