Sheraa sets up Dhs1m fund to boost visibility of tech startups - GulfToday

Sheraa sets up Dhs1m fund to boost visibility of tech startups


The fund’s beneficiaries will receive marketing and advertising support across platforms of four of Motivate’s leading titles. File/WAM

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

Pushing ahead its agenda of creating a holistic, development-oriented environment for the UAE’s entrepreneurial community amid the socioeconomic economic challenges brought on by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) has partnered with Motivate Media Group to establish a Dhs1 million fund to support tech startups via exclusive in-kind services.

Numerous tech startups under Sheraa’s portfolio will get exclusive access to these services, receiving benefits from Motivate – the region’s leading multi-platform content producer – including advertising space in their print magazines, digital marketing, editorial support, as well as guidance with their marketing and promotional plans.

The fund’s beneficiaries will receive marketing and advertising support across platforms of four of Motivate’s leading titles, including Dubai’s first-ever magazine What’s On, Gulf Business, Emirates Woman – a magazine picked up by both traditional and digital audiences, and finally, their architecture digest Identity.

After pledging a $1 million solidarity fund earlier in May to help startups under strain, Sheraa has drawn up this unique stimulus plan with the aim of helping tech startups bounce back, using well-established and reputable marketing platforms to reach a wide market audience. Motivate will guide startups on best practices, helping them target relevant audiences, to ensure that campaigns deliver optimal results.

Sheraa has been conducting surveys to assess the exact needs of its startups, where their specific challenges lie, and identify their most pressing requirements apart from fundraising. Najla Al Midfa, the non-profit’s CEO, said: “Since the outbreak, Sheraa has been thinking and acting on its feet in order to design innovative strategies to provide targeted support to its entrepreneurial community. Brand recognition and effective marketing to reach the right target audiences has come up as one of their top requirements, especially now when exposure to wider markets can make a big difference towards both the survival and revival of their businesses.”

“Motivate was a natural partner for this new Sheraa endeavour; we wanted our startups to leverage the immense market outreach they have built over 35 years. Tech SMEs benefiting from this initiative will feature alongside cutting-edge editorial, becoming known to millions in the region and beyond who form Motivate’s readership. Collaborations like these are a testament to the growing sense of community within the entrepreneurship ecosystem. We look forward to building on our partnership to further support our founders, both in the current climate and beyond,” she added.

Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner of Motivate Media Group, said: “Motivate and Sheraa are committing a substantial fund in the form of advertising and marketing, to support UAE-SMEs across all platforms, during what we are referring to as a period of business revival. This contribution forms part of our overall support and we couldn’t do better than to work with Sheraa to cover the essential Tech sector.  MMG want to help and encourage SMEs during this challenging period and see their businesses grow as we approach 2021 – the 50th anniversary of the UAE.”

The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), in partnership with the Sharjah Private Education Authority, has  also announced recently the launch of its second phase of their partnership. In its second edition, Startup Sharjah will bring together high school students for a two-week intensive bootcamp. The students will compete with each other using their tech-enabled ideas, all of which revolve around the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. The programme began June 14th, 2020.

Adapted into an online format in order to uphold health and safety regulations, the second Startup Sharjah competition is a part of the Future Changemakers initiative. The initiative was launched in April to utilize the remote learning period and encourage students to discover, invest in and foster their talent. The Startup Sharjah applicants have been selected from within the Sheraa Online School.

Designed to build a startup, from conception to prototype, the online program consists of weekly workshops and one-on-one mentorship sessions, covering topics such as market validation, prototyping, and financials. The students will also be connected to seasoned founders from the Sheraa Alumni community who will help in mentoring their venture creation process.

Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) was launched in January 2016 to support and grow early stage, tech-enabled ventures. It is the first step of the entrepreneurial journey, supporting founders as they develop their ideas, build and launch their initial products, and become investment-ready. Sheraa also provides a soft-landing offering to established tech startups that want to build a presence in Sharjah, helping to transform the emirate into a thriving entrepreneurship hub.

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