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Fishbowl Discussion: Fostering the growth of impact entrepreneurs

How can cities and politics support Entrepreneurs? How can we build, support and connect local ecosystems that allow startups to scale?


#current #EcosystemBuilding #Impact #InnovationCommunities #SDG11 #SDG17 #SDG9 #SupportInfrastructure Partners

Netherlands, Germany




Accelerate MENA was a bilingual program (English – French) developed to inspire, build and connect social innovation ecosystems in the MENA region. Kicking off the program in Jordan and Tunisia, the project consisted of:


We believe that the best approach to address today’s challenges is to build and support local and global ecosystems of motivated people who want drive change. Innovation is not always Silicon Valley – Anyone can come up with new ideas that solve problems we face. Topped with inspiration, guidance, the right tools and skill set, these ideas can quickly turn into real projects with real impact.

Accelerate MENA equipped our participants with the tools to develop responsible and inclusive business models around challenges that matter – be it Sustainable Consumption and Production (SDG 12) in Jordan or Renewable Energy (SDG 7) in Tunisia – and connected them to the right stakeholders. By running two-day Design Thinking innovation bootcamps in Amman and Tunis as well as an acceleration training in Berlin, Accelerate MENA aimed to strengthen the MENA social entrepreneurship scene through three core elements:

The participants developed several ideas ranging from using biomass to empower small towns in Tunisia by producing and selling their own energy, to building a co-creation space for artists upcycling plastic, or designing energy-efficient housing in the dead sea regions.


>> Jordan

Design Thinking can unleash creativity in Jordan

There are a lot of highly motivated people in Jordan, especially young students, who are eager and motivated to get involved in starting an impact project. However, there are not enough creative offers that encourage ideation yet, and Design Thinking is still a new concept. Closely connected to that, Design Thinking experts and trainers are quite rare. During the workshop we were amazed to see how open the bootcamp participants were to the process and how much energy they put into the team and project work. The final pitches at the end of the workshop in front of a jury pushed the participants to develop their idea further – they were on fire!

Creative Workshops are nice; but follow-ups make the difference

Apart from the high energy of the participants, we were overwhelmed to see that many existing projects had an implicit impact focus already, especially in Amman and the surrounding areas. While there are existing support opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Amman, such as the Zain campus where our bootcamp took place, enpact or Oasis 500, follow-up support opportunities for early stage ideas are still rare. Although the level of motivation was high, participants who came to our bootcamp with an idea often struggled to create a business model making their project or startup financially sustainable. There is a big demand for developing a skill set to push ideas further.

Need for more business modelling to make ideas come alive

Concluding, especially in the early project stages ranging from ideation to follow-up support for projects that have not turned into a business yet, support and funding is lacking. We had the feeling that many good ideas were not followed up upon, as incubation or mentoring opportunities to work on the business side were missing. Design Thinking and co-working are slowly arriving in Jordan, but were not common buzzwords yet.

>> Tunisia

Female power!

Similar to Jordan, we loved how many female participants came to our workshop. The teams were very gender-inclusive and collaboration was highly encouraged. Although gender inclusivity and rights is of course still a big topic in the region, within the small context of our workshop and probably also within the younger age group it felt very natural to have diverse teams.

Strengthening Tunisia’s early-stage entrepreneurship ecosystem

Feedback we received from several ends indicated that the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Tunisia is still very early-stage with few players, support institutions and co-working spaces in the field. Especially amongst the older generation, becoming a founder is not yet as accepted as working for bigger corporates. Consequently, funding and investment is still a big topic and so is bureaucracy.


>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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Womentum – Accelerating MENA’s Women Led Tech Start-ups

How can we create a 4-month program to accelerate women led tech start-ups in the Middle East and put them onto an international radar?

#Accelerator #current #SDG5 #Startup #Tech #WomenInTech Partners

Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen




Womentum acceleration teams will benefit from the following:


Project websiteWorking on the cashless transformation of communities through a mobile app for community members with a family wallet utilizing blockchain technology, as well as a community management web portal. – Have a look at their website!

“We believe that Womentum is a game changer for us, a dedicated team with tremendous network of mentors is what every startup needs. We cannot wait to start.”

– EgyptA precision farming hub that offers smart monitoring of environmental data using AI to help farmers make better decisions. – Have a look at their website!

“The entrepreneurship and innovation field is still male-dominated. At Seabex, we strongly believe that positive impact and great change come from brave and smart women when there are enough opportunities and Womentum is one of the best opportunities out there that empower women entrepreneurs, open doors and break barriers. Our hope for a sustainable world can’t be a single effort, but it can happen when we, all change-makers, come together.”

– TunisiaAn AI-powered tool to manage and respond to public comments on social media platforms, using machine learning to improve performance and to better understand inputs of all languages. – Have a look at their website!

“We live one day at a time. Each day we look for a kernel of excitement. In the morning we ask: what is our excitement thing for today? Then, we heard from Womena. Don’t ask for tomorrow.”

– JordanAn integrated platform that aggregates upwards of $500 from multiple investors into a property they choose, earning rental income and capital growth with zero hassle. – Have a look at their website!

“We are delighted to have been selected from a highly competitive group of candidates to be part of Womena’s inaugural accelerator program for female-led tech companies. We see a formidable combination of Womena’s access to expertise and networks of partners, and our vision, to revolutionize the world of real estate investing through technology.”

– UAEA unique mobile salon for the Arab world where customers can book different services of their choosing, with a booking system for stylists and artists integrated with their calendars. – Have a look at their website!

“We believe Womentum could launch Mrayti into the Arab world after a successful pilot in Amman. We want our ideas challenged, tested and exposed, and we can’t wait for it to happen within the Womentum program.”

– JordanAuthentic home-cooked meals from a variety of international cuisines delivered to users on demand. – Have a look at their website!

“The things that got us excited is the the uniqueness of the program: No upfront stake or equity giveaway and exposure to international and regional investors and mentors. We are also excited about the visit to Germany, which will help us understand the work that we need to do on our business model in order to scale internationally.”

– Saudi ArabiaWorking to turn plastic waste into sustainable building materials, such as eco-friendly paving stones and floor tiles made from plastic waste. – Have a look at their website!

“For the Z team, it’s time to scale. From Morocco to Berlin to Dubai, it’s time for us to shine internationally thanks to the Womentum program. Let the adventure begin!”

– MoroccoAn employee engagement tool that looks to combat disengagement in the workplace using a perks and benefits marketplace and a pulse-survey tool. – Have a look at their website!

“I am excited to be a part of a pioneering program that supports female entrepreneurs from all over the region and works to build a community around them. I can’t wait to engage with so many incredible women and to be a part of each other’s entrepreneurial journey.”

– Saudi Arabia/UAEUsing immersive augmented reality experiences to empower homeowners in discovering, visualizing and interacting with furniture in the space it will live in. – Have a look at their website!

“We believe that Womentum is the perfect platform to introduce us to the MENA ecosystem, help us accelerate our growth and showcase our vision and our passion toward innovation and disruptive technologies.”

– Egypt>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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Global Sustainability Trend Report

How can we access grass-route innovators to understand emerging trends and innovation that will affect business strategies in the future?

#current #Impact #Innovation #SDG11 #SDG12 #SDG13 #SDG14 #SDG15 #SDG3 #SDG8 #SDG9 #Transformation #Trends Partners

Europe, Middle East & Africa, North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific



>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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EU’s FABMove – connect social innovation hubs across the world

How can we strengthen relationships and exchange between hubs all focussing on social innovation?

#current #designthinking #ecosystem #empowerment #Networking #OnlineCommunity #SDG11 Partners

France, Israel, Argentina, Costa Rica, Indonesia



Project website

>> Want to know more or host your own program with us? Contact Anna Lässer!