HSBC-supported sustainability-themed accelerator program in the UAE launches its fourth edition

The C3 Impact Accelerator program, a social enterprise based in the United Arab Emirates supporting entrepreneurs from the Middle East, Africa and Turkey and backed by Europe’s second largest bank HSBC, has announced the launch of its fourth edition which targets those who contribute to at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

C3 – or Companies Creating Change – will shortlist 40 organizations from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Algeria and Turkey, who will have the opportunity to attend online workshops that will discuss fundamental business topics with experts.

The program will narrow it down to 20 finalists, who will participate in mock board meetings with regional and international investors and connect with relevant industry experts.

“This program is a showcase for social entrepreneurs who are innovating in areas such as environmental protection, health, education and poverty alleviation, among others, and who are driving the evolution of ESG [environmental, social and governance] in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey,” said Sabrin Rahman, Managing Director and Head of Sustainability for Europe and the Middle East at HSBC.

At the end of the program, the selected finalists will come to Dubai to present to investors and participate in the closing ceremony, during which the winners will be announced. The submission deadline to participate is February 17.

A significant number of acceleration programs in the Middle East have been launched to support the growth of entrepreneurs in various sectors.

On Thursday, Saudi Aramco’s entrepreneurial arm, Wa’ed, partnered with FinTech Saudi and venture capital firm Flat6Labs to launch a 12-week acceleration program to boost the growth of FinTech companies in the kingdom.

Last week, tech companies Google and Microsoft announced new developments in their respective startup accelerator programs for the region. Google said it had selected 11 startups for the third Google for Start-ups Accelerator Middle East and North Africa event, while Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, concluded the first cohort of its GrowthX Accelerator program. in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office. .

This program is a showcase for social entrepreneurs who innovate in areas such as environmental protection, health, education and poverty reduction, among others, and who drive the evolution of the ESG agenda. in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

Sabrin Rahman, Managing Director and Head of Sustainability for Europe and the Middle East at HSBC.

In December, Aldar, the largest listed real estate company in the United Arab Emirates, unveiled the second round of its Scale Up acceleration program, inviting companies that are digitizing the real estate sector.

Middle Eastern and North African startups raised $206m in December 2021 across 44 deals, down 27.5% monthly but up 215% year-over-year , according to data from Dubai-based Accelerator Wamda.

The majority of venture capital investments were concentrated in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, together accounting for more than 88% of total funding activity last month. Saudi start-ups received the most investment with $99.5 million. The Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt attracted the most transactions.

Winners of the C3 program will receive equity-free cash prizes and pro bono support from its partners, including consultancy Bain & Co, law firm Al Tamimi & Company, and Amazon Web Services.

The 2020 cohort received over 1,000 applications from 32 countries. Of those, he selected 42 semi-finalists and 22 finalists, and declared three winners last July.

Previous participants in the program have also made progress in different areas. UAE-based company Desert Control, which emerged from the 2019 competition, raised $23 million in an initial public offering on Euronext Growth Oslo last June. Egypt’s Chefaa, winner in 2019, raised around $1.8m, while UAE-based Almentor raised $6.5m in 2021.

Updated: January 22, 2022, 3:30 a.m.

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