Startups selected for MENA women-led tech accelerator Womentum

20 June 2019 Consultancy-me.com

Women-led tech accelerator Womentum has selected eight Middle East and North African startups for its four-month programme – with the Boston Consulting Group on hand to provide free consultations. 

Established by the female-focused media platform and entrepreneurial network womena, Womentum is a Dubai-based immersive accelerator for early-stage women-led tech startups from across the MENA region – eight of which have now been selected for the four month programme. In partnership this year with Standard Chartered, the participating start-ups will gain first-hand experience in the vibrant start-up ecosystems of Dubai and Berlin.

Concluding with a two-week boot-camp in Dubai to prepare the startups for an exclusive demonstration day with investors and ecosystem stakeholders, the programme commences with two weeks of in-person sessions hosted in Germany, before the startups – from Lebanon, Egypt, the UAE and Tunisia – then return to their home markets for an execution phase guided by remote mentorship. Among the support network, the Boston Consulting Group.

According to a press release, the global strategy and management consultancy will provide free consultation hours to each of Womentum startups as well as consulting hackathons and trainings, while Standard Chartered will offer mentorship through select workshops and returning partner Latham & Watkins – one of the most prestigious and highest revenue generating law firms in the world – will provide one-on-one legal mentorship and advice throughout the cycle.

Startups selected for MENA women-led tech accelerator Womentum

“After an incredible first cohort and such strong community support, Womentum is back this year to accelerate another batch of women-led startups in the Middle East,” said Elissa Freiha, an angel investor who together with Chantalle Dumonceaux co-founded womena in 2014 and serves as its managing director. “Our cohort represents every area of the MENA region, Tunisia and Egypt from North Africa, UAE from the Gulf and Lebanon from the Levant”

Freiha continued; “We’ve enhanced this year’s program to focus on custom experience-based learnings and more extensive one-on-one mentorship as well as expanded upon the mental health and wellness integrations through the dynamic EQ sessions.” Rola Abu Manneh, the CEO of Standard Chartered in the UAE, adds; “Our staff and partners are here to mentor the startups, help them scale and equip them with skills that are necessary to thrive in today’s world.”

The top-performing of the start-ups – which among others include Fresh Source of Egypt, a solution connecting small-time farmers to the modern agribusiness value-chain; and the UAE’s Dimension 14, which provides an AI-powered tool for scheduling and automated decision- making for organisations with complex systems – will be in line to receive $60,000 in prize money awarded by Standard Chartered and access to of up to $160,000 in direct investment.

According to womena, the programme received around 200 applications from across MENA, with the selected startups emerging after several interviews rounds. “The Womentum selection this year speaks to the maturity of female-founded startups in the Middle East,” said Womentum managing director Christina Andreassen. “All of these companies have phenomenal businesses from a large diversity of industries, ranging from construction tech to virtual goods and gaming.”

Freiha concludes; “Our mission is to promote gender diversity and inclusion and we believe that the next wave of innovation will come from emerging market entrepreneurs – the women of these markets are pivotal in this journey. Womena has built a programme that we felt was lacking in the regional ecosystem focused on female-led startups. We’re looking to surpass all expectations in 2019 and once again prove that the region is poised to be a global hotbed for tech change-makers.”