May 4, 2020 – Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), has pledged a $1 million dollar solidarity fund to help startups that are under strain due to the coronavirus pandemic. In honor of the #UbuntuLoveChallenge, a global initiative spearheaded by H.E Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi and thought leader, Mamadou Kwidjim Toure, founder of the Africa 2.0 Foundation, the fund will aid startups ensuring they remain afloat, and tide over these uncertain times. The fund will be distributed through equity-free grants and commissioned projects.
Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said, “The $1M Solidarity Fund reflects Sheraa’s ongoing commitment to supporting our entrepreneurs, especially those struggling to cope with the challenges that COVID-19 imposes. We believe that the entrepreneurial community will play a critical role in the recovery of our society, and so these grants will be used not only to help our startups survive, but also to enable founders to develop solutions that will create a better future for our world.”
This grant has been issued in place of Sheraa’s annual events. With the safety, health and wellbeing of the community in mind, Sheraa’s annual events will not be taking place this year. Instead, all allocated resources are being used towards the solidarity fund. Grants will be awarded to entrepreneurs committed to creating real impact and building a future we, and the generations to come, deserve.
The #UbuntuLoveChallenge is a global movement where change-makers and experts from around the world are encouraged to share projects, initiatives and knowledge that makes a global positive impact, thus providing hope in the face of hardship. Millions of people from across the globe are seen collaborating and addressing current problems while offering solutions for the future on the platform.
About Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center):
Launched in January 2016, Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center) is a platform that supports entrepreneurs. From strategically transforming ideas into reality and effectively nurturing established businesses, to promoting networking opportunities with investors and stakeholders – it cultivates change-makers and builds a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem. Sheraa – ‘Sail’ in Arabic – runs four different programmes that are tailored to every stage of the entrepreneurial journey: Idea Lab, Pre-seed, Seed, and Series A.
Idea Lab breaks down an entrepreneur’s business model and ensures proof of concept. Pre-seed consists of customized deep-dive sessions and interactive workshops on topics such as project management, rapid prototype testing, financials, pitch rehearsals, as well as personal and team strength training. The Seed program addresses a startups key milestone in the journey of growth, focusing on marketing channels and enhanced customer experience. Lastly, Series A is an in-depth program, helping advanced startups refine their strategy, internal processes, and external customer experience to ready them for the next stage of growth.
Sheraa, a non-profit government organization, is headquartered at the American University of Sharjah and hosts a thriving community of ambitious entrepreneurs. The second Sheraa hub, launched in September 2018, is located at the University of Sharjah.
Since its’ inception, Sheraa has successfully built a community of over 10,000 entrepreneurs and ecosystem players. Over 100 startups have graduated from Sheraa’s programs, generating over $35 million in revenue and raising over $50 million in investment. In addition, Sheraa startups have created over 600 jobs.
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