Applications are open until the 29th of February 2020 for budding social start-ups working in the mental health sector to apply to the Ma’an Social Incubator and Accelerator run by the Authority for Social Contribution – Ma’an. The ground-breaking initiative will grow new community-based organizations, non-profit associations and social enterprises that promote positive mental health and wellbeing in Abu Dhabi.

Social entrepreneurs with an innovative and exciting business idea are encouraged to apply for funding and a package of business development support through the Ma’an Social Incubator. This is the second cycle of the Ma’an Social Incubator and Accelerator, with the first ten social businesses (developing solutions for people of determination) graduating from the first cycle at the end of 2019. A host of exciting businesses have come through the incubator including Ioptyc by Nexart whose product helps people with visual impairments to navigate their surroundings through sensors and visual recognition and Key 2 Enable, awarded as one of the world’s most promising start-ups at Gitex in Dubai in November.

Applications opened for the second cycle of the Ma’an Social Incubator and Accelerator in November. Speaking at the time, the Director-General of Ma’an, Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi said: “Mental wellbeing has become an increasingly important issue around the world and on average 1 in 4 people will face a mental health difficulty at some point during their life. It impacts the way people think, feel, behave and make decisions in everyday life. Abu Dhabi is no different and it is essential that we begin a conversation to understand the support communities need to cope with mental wellbeing challenges.

The incubator is open to teams of two to three people with innovative and original ideas that are either service-based or product-based (both software or hardware) in the early stages of development. Individuals without a team are still encouraged to apply as Ma’an will offer to ‘matchmake’ social entrepreneurs with team members.

Ten winning teams will get access to workshops and training programs to hone their business skills and understand more about the particular social challenge. The program offers unique and valuable networking opportunities for the teams to build relationships with individuals outside of the program, including investors, third sector leaders and regional and global industry figures. Ma’an will organise ‘pitch days’ for the 10 teams to be able to leverage funding from investors.

Each team will be eligible to receive milestone funding of up to AED 200,000, released at every successful milestone the participant reaches as well as a monthly stipend and housing costs for participants not based in Abu Dhabi. Applicants must be 18 and over and live in – or be willing to relocate to – Abu Dhabi.

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