Sheraa and CE-Ventures disburse relief grants to start-ups, offering them a lifeline to remain afloat as they navigate current economic challenges. Together Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center) and CE-Ventures, the corporate venture capital platform of Crescent Enterprises, have disbursed more than AED700,000 in equity-free grants to 11 start-ups.
The 11 selected start-ups operate in the retail, real estate, fintech, travel & tourism, agriculture, education, technology and creative sectors. As Sheraa and CE-Ventures disburse relief grants to start-ups, it comes as an effort to support local industries inspired by Sharjah’s keen interest to support and promote start-ups, contributing to the emirate’s strong and diversified economy.
“Injecting emergency capital into Sheraa start-ups 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 start-ups 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,” said Najla Al Midfa, CEO, Sheraa.
The joint fund falls under the #UbuntuLoveChallenge, a global initiative spearheaded by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairperson of Sheraa, and Mamadou Kwidjim Toure, founder of the Africa 2.0 Foundation. The collaboration between CE-Ventures and Sheraa follows Sheraa’s $1 million Startup Solidarity Fund announcement made earlier this year.
The application process commenced in May 2020 with eligible startups being shortlisted by a committee comprised of members from CE-Ventures, Sheraa and an independent venture capital firm. Each start-up was evaluated based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data across three main areas – including cash flow, product & business model and team. Candidates had to submit detailed business plans that attested to the start-up’s performance based on revenue and profitability prior to the pandemic, as well as their ability to mitigate the current negative impact of COVID-19.
“In collaboration with Sheraa, we have selected 11 start-ups that demonstrated a culture of resilience, continued to have robust business models and proactively pivoted to weather the crisis. To navigate the challenging market environment, these start-ups are set to keep a tight rein on operational costs without undermining their ability to do business now, and to step up operations in the future,” added Tushar Singhvi, director, CE-Ventures.
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