Womentum by womena® and Standard Chartered’s Women in Tech, is a three-month acceleration program focused on women-led tech startups from across the MENA region. This unique experience-based global accelerator follows a blended model where startups are immersed in one of the region’s most vibrant investment hubs, the UAE, complemented with virtual support during the remote period in their home countries.

*Applications are closed for 2020


After years building an award-winning angel investment group that facilitated over 3 million AED of funding, womena® launched an experience-based early tech accelerator focused on female-led tech startups in the Middle East. Over three months, the program brings participants together in one of the major investment hubs in the region, the UAE! Founders will gain access to the Womentum Alumni network on our exclusive womena®Bossladies Network.


Womentum leverages womena®'s media platform, to highlight the founders, startups and the program content. Our media team will produce creative content that introduces you, your mission and your product to a global audience, along with speaking opportunities and media interviews. The Womentum Series documents the unique program and how it has impacted the founders' lives.


As a Womentum graduate, you’ll have access to womena®’s network of investors and ecosystem partners, which include corporates, growth-stage accelerators, potential customers and acquirers. Standard Chartered will award the three top-performing startups a total of $30,000 in equity-free prize money. You will each receive $20,000+ worth of tech, legal and consulting services offered by our partners. Our Demo Day is an exclusive event open only to investors.

Who can apply?

If you are an early stage startup that:
  • Has a gender-diverse team with at least one female co-founder (who owns equity in the business)
  • Is developing an innovative and scalable tech-enabled product
  • Has proof of concept and an existing prototype
  • Is based in or operating in the Middle East market
  • Has demonstrated a commitment to building a successful company by having at least one team member 100% focused on building your business from September to December.
  • Is willing to be featured on media and appear on camera throughout the program

Application Process:

Fill out the application form here
Show us your elevator pitch!Send us a video (30-60 seconds) where you pitch your team and your startup as MENA’s next unicorn. Upload it to any social media/video content platform and send us the link. Check out our sample pitch below.

Program Launch

Before we see you in the UAE bootcamp, we will work closely with startups to zero in on the foundations of your company and conduct a thorough needs assessment where your business model, financial model and unit economics will be dissected and challenged. Together, we set the foundation for the rest of the program tailored to your needs.

UAE Bootcamp

During this time, you will have direct access to a wide network of experts that will walk you through a range of topics to help accelerate the growth of your business. You’ll be meeting with tech and innovation experts through group workshops as well as one-on-ones. We’ll focus on your branding, marketing and sales strategy, product analytics, legal structure, cash flow and crisis management, investment readiness and more. We’ll also help you set up meetings and expand your UAE-based networks.   Given the current climate and taking the effects of the pandemic into consideration, we have adapted our program curriculum to make it more relevant and make sure it addresses the immediate needs of startups. We have added content that will help startups maneuver through challenging times, pivot and become more agile, and thrive during times of unforeseen crises.

Remote Period

This is when you’ll return to your home markets, hit the ground running and achieve milestones with the support of local and international mentors. You’ll continue to receive virtual support, workshops and have an open line of communication to legal, tech and business experts. Closer to the demo day, we’ll coach you on refining your pitch and fielding investor questions so you know exactly what to expect. 

Demo Day

We’re going to do things differently this year with a virtual Demo Day that will be open to a larger investor pool from the region and beyond, designed to put you in direct touch with investors and prompt on-the-spot investor interest and commitment. Womentum Demo Day 2019: Watch this video


Media is an integral part of this program. Participants must be aware that the program will be filmed and that moments from the filming will be shown online and on other channels as part of a web series. Along the way, you’ll have access to PR, speaking and branding experts to help you feel comfortable and confident around the camera. This is phenomenal prep for your future as a world-dominating business legend.Watch this playlist

Any founding member of the team that has equity in the company.

We accept applications from any MENA-based businesses, regardless of the founder nationalities.

While you’re welcome to have your entire company participate in the accelerator program, we will only be able to sponsor accommodation, and flights for two of the founders (at least one of which should be a female) during both bootcamps.

Our accelerator program is industry agnostic, however, our mentors and content will be tailored to your unique needs.

The goal of Womentum will be to prepare and enable all cohort companies to receive investment after graduation through demo day and access to investor networks. womena® will be investing in the top performing companies that complete the Womentum Accelerator. The rest is up to you to dazzle our investors!

womena® will provide an economy class ticket and accommodation on a shared room basis (as feasible) in the UAE bootcamp. Entrepreneurs wishing to fund their own upgrades are welcome to do so.

Each participant is responsible to apply for their own visas, however, Womentum issues invitation letters and provides support during the process.

womena® has a number of partners that offer incorporation solutions to graduate startups, and we will work with you to help you find the right setup partner should you choose to incorporate.

Our media team will produce creative content throughout the four months of the program, highlighting your experience and the program content, which is great exposure to a global and regional audience. After the program ends, we will release the Womentum Series, which documents the unique program and how it has impacted the founders’ lives. In the multi-episode docu-series, we will follow the participating startups across your journey, with visits to home countries during the remote period, to see what it’s like to build, pivot and grow businesses in these regional markets. The media team will be working with you closely to ensure you’re comfortable with the material filmed and we will be providing personalized coaching on speaking and presenting to help you maximize this opportunity. Signing a release form is a prerequisite to participation in the Womentum Accelerator.

Message from our Partner and Founder

“At Standard Chartered, we embrace and celebrate diversity, including gender diversity. In the world of tech, women are often under-represented and face many challenges that limit their ability to thrive. We are proud to launch the “Women in tech” accelerator in collaboration with womena®. Womentum aims to support, mentor and connect all aspiring and established women-led startups in the region. We welcome all high impact tech-enabled ideas. 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.”

Rola Abu Manneh
Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank UAE

“womena®’s 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 program that we felt was lacking in the regional ecosystem focused on female-led startups. In addition to a world-class curriculum, we envelop all content in perspective-shifting experiences: Taking the entrepreneurs out of their comfort zones and forcing them to look differently, innovatively, at their solutions.”

Elissa Freiha
Founder, womena®


Interested to be a mentor? Apply here!