Aldar launches 3rd edition of its retail entrepreneurship program ‘Manassah’

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Abu Dhabi-based leading real estate investment platform, Aldar Properties has launched the third cycle of its Manassah program in partnership with the global startup accelerator, startAD.

Manassah program is a six-month incubator aimed at cultivating entrepreneurial talent and advancing retail concepts in the UAE to become part of Aldar’s thriving retail portfolio.

As a global startup movement, Manassah 3.0 builds on the success of the previous editions of the program, the company said.

The first edition of Manassah targeted UAE-based SMEs operating within the retail, café, and restaurant space while the second edition targeted a broader range of retail businesses including technology-enabled startups and sustainability projects from across the GCC.

Aldar said in a statement that the latest edition targets SMEs in the F&B industry, as well as retail products and services.

“Manassah 3.0 is welcoming submissions across retail SMEs such as cafes, restaurants, boutiques, wellness spaces, and other unique store concepts. Applications are open and the deadline for submission is August 28. Winners will receive equity-free financial incentives and space at an Aldar retail destination,” the company added.

Saoud Khoory
Chief Retail Officer

“At Aldar, we are committed to facilitating and accelerating the growth of our retail landscape by supporting and investing in innovative concepts. Through the Manassah program, we have already mentored, advanced, or initiated projects with over 40 startups and retail concepts and we are now looking to expand this further with the third edition of the program. We fully believe that initiatives like Manassah will help build a strong home-grown retail ecosystem, in which startups can thrive.”

startAD and Aldar will support participants by providing them with the necessary tools to launch their ventures. Businesses accepted into the program will benefit from workshops and resources from the best experts worldwide, enabling entrepreneurs to rapidly refine, improve, and validate their business models, financials, and brand story.

Participants will also gain unparalleled networking opportunities and access to the best local and global strategists and retail experts.

“SMEs represent 94 percent of the companies operating in the country, provide jobs for more than 86 percent of the private sector’s workforce, and make up over 60 percent of the national GDP. Food retail is anticipated to dominate the retail market in coming years and programs like Manassah are empowering startups to spur innovation in the sector. I’m looking forward to welcoming creative and ambitious entrepreneurs to Manassah who will redefine the future of retail,” commented Mr. Ramesh Jagannathan, Managing Director of startAD.

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