MAY 28, 2018 – DUBAI: The final results are in and womena has selected the top female-led tech startups from among 174 applicants for the first cycle of our womentum accelerator, kicking off this July.
Since launching in March, we’ve received 174 applications from female founders of 34 nationalities from across the region. Their startups cover a wide range of 15 different industries, from education to healthcare, F&B, environment, art, fashion, and more.
“Through the womentum application process, we were able to discover over 170 tech companies across the Middle East that are founded or co-founded by female entrepreneurs,” says Christina Andreassen, womentum’s program manager.
“This process has made it abundantly clear that the region holds a wealth of talented female leaders and we were proud to see women leading companies in verticals as diverse as edutech to health tech, nanotech and construction tech. This diversity is reflected in our selection of womentum’s final cohort, and we can’t wait to present these startups at our final demo day in October,” she adds.
The winners are (*quotes from founders can be found below):
“This month is all about giving and at womena, we are giving everything we have to help this next generation of female business leaders succeed,” says Elissa Freiha, founder and managing director of womena.
“This is a monumental program, built by entrepreneurs in the region, for entrepreneurs in this region. After three years of investing in women investors, we will be bringing our wider community together to now, in turn, invest in women entrepreneurs. We are proud to host these female led teams, and even more excited to create a broader platform from which they, and the rest of the regions bossladies, can achieve their dreams,” Freiha adds.
In applying to the womentum accelerator, a majority of startups (32%) cited access to investors and fundraising as the main support they needed, followed by access to markets and networks in the UAE (11%), user growth and acquisition (11%), and regional market access (11%).
Womentum is womena’s female-focused, early-stage accelerator that aims to support tech startups with at least one female founder from or operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Powered by Impact Hub Berlin, sponsored and supported by our official legal partner Latham & Watkins, and in partnership with the in5, the four-month accelerator program is designed to give early stage startups immersion in Berlin’s innovative ecosystem and connection to investors, mentors and regional markets from the Dubai hub.
The program will follow a blended model, kicking off with two weeks of in-person sessions in Berlin. This stage will be followed by a remote execution phase in founders’ home countries, involving virtual mentorship to allow entrepreneurs to validate their products in localized contexts. The program ends with two weeks in Dubai, where startups will get to hone their pitches in preparation for demo day at the same time as GITEX.
Womena has teamed up with Elves as the official travel partner for womentum, whereby the human-assisted AI personal concierge app will be taking care of participants’ travel bookings and other logistical needs.
Beyond support, womentum and its participants will be documented through a web series as founders embark on a quest to build the strongest company. Leveraging womena’s content platform womedia, the womentum web series will build on the existing audience to give participating startups global exposure and access to an early customer base in their regional markets.
*EDITORS NOTE: This press release has been updated to reflect that the final Womentum cohort now includes 9 startups. Unfortunately, the 10th selected startups had to leave due to extenuating circumstances.
QUOTES FROM THE FINALIST STARTUPS
“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.”
“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.”
WE SHARE PROPERTY
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Womena is dedicated to encouraging gender diversity and inclusion in the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem. Founded in 2014, womena has built an award-winning Angel Investment group that facilitated over 3 million AED in funding into 10 companies. Through womedia, we are telling the story of regional changemakers, and through our womentum accelerator and education programs, we aim to increase the pipeline of women entrepreneurs into the MENA ecosystem. Our Bosslady community is the largest network of female entrepreneurs and investors in the Middle East.
All of these elements come together to make womena the leading ecosystem enabler for gender diversity in MENA. The goal of womena is more women in business, more women investors, and a more inclusive, diverse, and consequently booming ecosystem.
For more information:
Womentum Program Manager
Strategy and Media Development