MENA venture capital and accelerator Flat6Labs is seeking to boost underserved demographics with its newest program announced this week.
The StartMashreq entrepreneurship program aims to support startups based in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Levant region, focusing on women, minorities, and internally displaced persons.
Open to entrepreneurs aged 18-45, the program is looking for entrepreneurs developing their ideas and concepts in education, fintech, financial inclusion, healthcare technology, agriculture, environment, and information and communication technology.
Sounds enticing? The program will feature three main tracks – StartMashreq Academy, the Growth Support Program, and the Incubation program. With StartMashreq Academy, participants can access interactive sessions, seminars, talks led by business leaders, training courses on specialized topics, and blogs and articles from regional experts.
For its incubation program, which will be held across four cycles, participants will receive support on building a business plan and growth strategy, mentorship opportunities, and group sessions to allow entrepreneurs to share insights.
As for mature startups, entrepreneurs can gain opportunities to scale further with the Growth Support Program. Selected 20 startups from across the region will be offered a series of workshops tailored to their distinct challenges and needs, networking opportunities, and receive local and international legal support at no cost.
Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, emphasized the program’s significance, “Entrepreneurs can be game changers when it comes to job creation and economic growth in the Levant region. However, underserved groups, like women, young people, and the forcibly displaced, struggle to access the support they need to start a business.”
Addressing the program, Yehia Houry, Flat6Labs Chief Programs Officer, said, “The Arab world, and the Levant region in particular, has always been full of promising young people with big ambitions. Unfortunately, many of the youth in our region lack access to the tools, resources, and opportunities they need to succeed. Through this initiative, we hope to inspire an entrepreneurial movement and provide the tools and resources necessary to nurture that movement.”
The two-year program is launched in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the government of the Netherlands.