The startups came in with a lot of energy to power them through two intense weeks of sessions, talks and challenges. Mentorship focused on investment, marketing, legal, storytelling, leadership, sales and pitching is helping prep them for Demo Day, where they will pitch to an audience of the region’s top investors.
“We all see you guys as the next billion-dollar company in the Middle East,” said Womentum Managing Director Christina Andreassen. “In these two weeks, we’ll be trying to get you to a place where you have access to capital and you have the ability to grow.”
Founder of womena, Elissa Freiha, welcomed the startups to Dubai and explained the importance of the immersive bootcamp in the region’s investment capital.
“We took you to Berlin to take you out of your comfort zones, to make you think outside of the box, to get really creative, to look at yourselves and your businesses differently,” explains Elissa. “Now that we have reassessed those fundamentals, we bring you back to the region because we want to teach you something that Dubai knows how to do very well, and that is marketing.”
Pavneet Bajwa, head of human resources at Standard Chartered Bank UAE, rejoined us to welcome the startups to Dubai and give a word from Womentum’s Exclusive Banking Sponsor.
“It has been a wonderful partnership between womena and Standard Chartered. We realized through research that only 11 percent of investment money from tech startups go to startups with women founders, and we wanted to tap into the potential of women entrepreneurs,” says Pavneet.
“At the end of this program, we are going to award three prizes worth $50,000,” she adds.
Since the Berlin rotation, the startups have been hard at work, with their fair share of highs and lows that they were able to share with everyone during a milestone session.
“It was very exciting to tell everyone about the milestones we have achieved, I wanted to share everything,” said Rasha Rady, co-founder of Chefaa. “There are many things that can be fixed with the help of the upcoming workshops so I’m looking forward to that too.”
The founders got straight to work reviewing their financial models, followed by one-on-one sessions with executives from Standard Chartered who shared their time and expertise with the founders. “It was exciting to meet the Standard Chartered mentors that we have been following up with for the past three months over the phone and put faces to the names,” said Farah Emara, co-founder and CEO of Freshsource.
The opening of Dubai rotation came to a close with a lovely dinner, where everyone got to mingle with the Standard Chartered mentors.
As Cycle 2 is underway, womenaⓇMedia is in the production phase of Womentum Series Season 2, the docu-series that documents the journey of the founders as they go through the highs and lows of the four-month accelerator.
“It’s exciting to be back,” says Nada Zaher, co-founder and CEO of Pas-sport. “There are a lot of speakers that I’m looking forward to listening to and a lot of competition in the middle, and challenges as well so it’s going to be interesting.”