Young Middle East entrepreneurs can pitch for up to $250,000 in seed funding – The National

Ten young entrepreneurs could secure between $50,000 to $250,000 (Dh183,700 to Dh918,300) in funding via a new investor day held by the University of Manchester Middle East Centre and the start-up programme UAEpreneur.

The event, set to be held in Dubai this year, will introduce 10 regional start-ups to angel investors willing to inject seed funding to help launch or scale up the businesses.

Randa Bessiso, Middle East director at The University of Manchester in Dubai, said the education institution recognises “the very powerful attraction of entrepreneurial careers among professionals across the Middle East”.

Venture capital activity in the Mena region hit record levels last year, up 31 per cent, totalling $893 million compared to 2017, start-up community platform Magnitt said in a report this month.

In January, venture capital company Wamda Group launched Wamda X, which offers pre-seed funding to early stage start-ups – particularly entrepreneurs, who may still be in day jobs that rely on family and friends to bootstrap their trial period.

Under this latest funding drive from UAEpreneur, an initiative of Dubai incubator Innovest Middle East, the University of Manchester will screen and select the 10 start-ups. They will also offer the winners professional development opportunities.

With the application process already under way, the university said many of the start-ups from across the GCC and wider Middle East region are digital businesses targeting the B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) sectors.

Moatassem Moatez, partner at Innovest Middle East, said: “Our focus is on younger entrepreneurs and a practical approach to getting them the support, finance and skills they need to succeed. Our commitment goes beyond matching start-ups to investors and Innovest will offer additional professional support to the winning start-ups.”

The investor day is open to entrepreneurs at idea or early launch phase that have a viable product or service catered towards the Middle East region and a detailed business plan. The date of the investor day is yet to be confirmed.

Updated: February 11, 2019 11:11 AM

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