NAMA’s ‘Opportunity to Grow’ platform connects
five women-led start-ups to investors at WEEGS 2019
UAE- based QiDZ was recognized as the top startup while GetBEE, Finyal Media received honorable mentions the pitch competition for offering innovative, scalable solutions
Sharjah, December 12, 2019:Five women-owned early stage start-ups in the UAE were given the opportunity to present their businesses to leading investors in a session titled ‘Opportunity to Grow’ on the second day of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) yesterday. QiDZ was recognized as the top startup while GetBEE, Finyal Media received honorable mentions, based on strong pitches made to an audience of top industry experts and angel investors, describing their businesses, their potential for viability, sustainability, actualisation and profitability.
A NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) concept, this start-up pitch session aims to create a new opportunity for women-owned early stage start-ups in the UAE to scale up their businesses.
QiDZ was set up by a group of five exasperated women who found it was impossible to organise kids’ activities locally so came up with a solution. Simona Agolini, co-founder told the investors that QiDZ is the first mobile app in the region that consolidates all the family-related entertainment and kids’ activities of all ages in one place. It enables users to discover more than 3,000 hand-picked fun and educational activities, deals and restaurants and book online instantly.
“The QiDZ app is a way to find, share and update information on everything going on for kids in Dubai. It’s there to make life easier, help you plan and inspire you to have even more fun with your kids. Our start-up has investor appeal because, as mothers, we identified a problem parents up and down the country are dealing with and came up with a solution.”
GetBEE is a software as a service (SaaS) consultancy that provides online coaching, virtual healthcare, online education, and professional training, among others, to businesses around the region. Thea Myhrvold, CEO and Founder highlighted how the company has become an essential business-to-business solution for enterprises that aim to offer a high-performance e-consulting service to their clients.
Thea said, “The beauty of our business is how easily it can be scalable. We are planning to expand across the world into Africa and across Asia and have already achieved profitable business contracts. Ours is a technology that empowers businesses throughout the world to attain global expansion. With GetBEE, a business can offer live sessions that can happen at your office, home or on the go. Everything is integrated on your website and the software helps you keep track of the time spent per client, as well as monitor the results and effectiveness of all your online sessions.”
Finyal Media, a production business which creates podcast content for young Arabs across MENA, said they had identified a gap in the market for Arab-led content. The company was founded in 2018 by Mshari Alonaizy and Majid Al Qassimi with the intention of telling stories to help young people reconnect with the Arab world. “Finyal is the first company in the Middle East to be creating and monetizing an entire network of podcast series specifically for Arab listeners. We believe that the current media landscape is not championing our local culture in a modern way that is palatable to the younger generation and our podcasts aim to bridge the gap,” said Leila Hamadeh Alanani, CEO.
Among the five finalists was a start-up called Le Majlis, an online platform for top brand and designer clearance sales. Founder, Bintou Macalou, told the investors that they deliver products worldwide. “Our vision is to help people and the environment, and we encourage local and regional designers to showcase their collections to a larger public. While working on our idea, we learnt that retailers and designers have more than 10 percent of unsold items sitting around in their warehouses. People always like discounts, and with the e-commerce boom, we think that is the greatest time for our company to be part of it.”
Finally, The Scalable CFO founder, Oreabetse Matlhare presented her start-up which connects businesses to independent Finance Leaders. Oreabetse told investors her business helped to fix the growing pains of fast expanding companies by teaming them with independent expert financial advice. “I am proudly leading a team of driven individuals that are passionate about bringing opportunities for SMEs to access critical finance expertise and for seasoned and up and coming professionals to work with ambitious businesses,” she said.
The panel of investor judges made up of Vera Futorjanski, mentor and innovation director at 500Startups, Neil Flemming, a MENA Angel Investor, Lucy Chow of Women’s Angel Investor Network, Sharif Al Badawi of 500startup and Joumana Jallad, Mindshift Capital assessed the start ups on a range of criteria to decide the winner.
Joumana Jallad said, “These businesses were chosen because we can see clearly how well they solve problems and issues as well as how effectively they are scalable. All can be global businesses and we wish the women at the helm of these start-ups every continued success.
Held under the theme ‘Drivers of Change’ the two-day event supports the aim of achieving the United Nation 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by the organisation’s General Assembly in September 2015. WEEGS is organised by NAMA in collaboration with UN Women.