In the times of the pandemic, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) and CE-Ventures (the corporate venture capital platform of Crescent Enterprise) have disbursed more than $190,569 in equity-free grants to 11 startups.
The 11 selected companies operate in the sectors of fintech, agriculture, retail, technology, real estate, travel and tourism and education. These grants have proven to be a lifeline to these startups and is helping them remain afloat while managing the current economic challenges.
Sharjah has been adopting measures to support and foster start-ups across a number of sectors as they continue to contribute to the diversified and strong economy of the emirate. The initiative of Sheraa and CE-Ventures to promote local enterprises is also a part of this growing interest.
The fund falls under the # UbuntuLoveChallenge. It is a global initiative led by Sheik Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi and Mamadou Kwidjim Toure, the Chairperson of Sheraa and founder of the Africa 2.0 Foundation, respectively.
The application process started in May 2020, with a committee consisting of representatives from CE-Ventures, Sheraa and an independent venture capital company shortlisting qualifying startups. Based on a mix of quantitative and qualitative data, each startup was analyzed in three key areas which included Product and Business model, cash flow and the Team. This provided for a comprehensive evaluation of the startups’ core business functions as well as their post-COVID 19 outlook.
“Injecting emergency capital into Sheraa startups that have been unduly affected by the pandemic has been a top priority to ensure they are able to quickly recover and resume their stride. Our partnership with CE-Ventures has been crucial in selecting startups that are able to benefit, in the long run. The collaboration is a testimony to our mutual dedication to building a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem that contributes to a thriving economy.”
Candidates were required to send comprehensive business plans attesting to the performance of the startup, based on pre-pandemic revenue and profitability, as well as their ability to mitigate COVID-19 ‘s current negative effect.
Apart from the technical assessments, the startups were also evaluated for their skills and experience of their team to help determine their ability to handle their business during the current recession and the ability to use incoming funds efficiently to expand their firms.