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The Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an, has announced that as a result of the Ma’an Social Incubator (MSI) 30 social start-ups have been successfully launched, providing solutions to Abu Dhabi’s social challenges and positively impacting more than15,000 beneficiaries within the emirate.  

Through its championing of social entrepreneurship, Ma’an has supported 30 social start-ups through three cohorts of MSI, providing more than AED 6 million worth of support to produce effective enterprises, which address the specific social needs of Abu Dhabi, which have been identified through the Quality of Life survey and Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development, whilst also contributing to the wider economy.   

MSI works closely with relevant partners to understand the needs of both, businesses and Government.  

 Since its launch in May 2019, more than 800 applications have been received from across 21 different countries, spanning five continents, from entrepreneurs with innovative concepts, each aiming to address the cohort’s specific theme.  

H.E Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, said: “We are extremely proud of the milestones achieved through our Ma’an Social Incubator. Since the announcement of its inaugural cohort, we have been overwhelmed by the response from so many creative and forward-thinking social start-ups from all over the world.  

“Seeing how the social entrepreneurs have utilised their deep understanding of the social priorities to create innovative solutions and use the MSI platform to grow their ideas into social enterprises has been magnificent to see.  

“Through empowering social entrepreneurs to grow their business ideas, we will be able to enhance the third sector, growing a healthy and strong network of social enterprises and not-for-profit associations, benefitting Abu Dhabi.”  

Three cohorts have been launchedso far, each aimed at empowering social entrepreneurs to grow their ideas intosocial enterprises through offering milestone funding, mentorship,office space, business expertise and access to investors. 

The theme of Cohort 01 was focused on developing solutions to enhance the quality of life for People of Determination. The shortlisted ventures included a platform to provide effective accessibility for People of Determination, empowering them to use assistive technology via an app which offers instant translation of sign language for everyone’s use and an inclusive, safe, seasonal, mobile and sleepover camp for Children of Determination.  

Cohort 02 focused on enhancing the mental wellbeing of residents in Abu Dhabi, with the shortlisted start-ups creating solutions such as mindfulness apps, supportive guidance for young girls through interactive workshops, an online platform and podcast supporting post-natal mothers on their mental health journey, and online yoga and meditation classes in Arabic.  

Cohort 03 focused on encouraging and improving Family Cohesion, with innovative solutions including online storytelling sessions, an app to coach families on how to resolve disputes, a Fit Family programme, and an interactive and engaging programme designed to address the issue of lack of communication within families.  

In total, Ma’an has allocated an impressive AED 6 million in milestone funding to empower the social start-ups. 

Jose Rubinger, owner of Key2Enable, the software empowering People of Determination to use technology, and Cohort 01 participant said: “Becoming part of the Ma’an Social Incubator program has been one of the biggest milestones of Key2Enable’s journey. This unique experience with all the mentors, events, the acceleration process, and their strong network connections and expertise in dealing with the government and private sector led us to open our Middle East business unit in Abu Dhabi.  If you are looking for innovation and technology to succeed, inspire, and create a positive social impact, you have to consider applying to Ma’an programmes.” 

Farah Alqaissieh, owner of Guiding Stars, the online platform and podcast supporting mothers in their mental health journey and Cohort 02 participant, said: “Going through the MSI programme allowed me to be equipped with the toolkits and strategies needed to develop an idea into a project. Across all the amazing projects, there has always been a spirit of collaboration and support. We are grateful to the MSI team for guiding us through this journey and continuing to support us even after graduation.”  

Anisa Ismail, owner of The Unplugged Initiative, a toolkit to stow away electrical devices and encourage family games, and Cohort 03 participant, said: “There are some experiences in life that are an abundance of blessings in more than one way. That is how I feel about this programme. As an entrepreneur, the journey of making your vision come to life can feel so lonely, but with Ma’an MSI programme, I can feel the support on all fronts. I am learning things I never knew and understanding my vision in a new light. And the best thing is that I feel like I’m part of a huge family dynamic, with a safe space for learning and growth.” 

Cycle 04 of the MSIA will launch towards the end of the year, incubating 10 more winning start-ups. 

A full list of the teams include:  

Cohort 01// Enhancing the lives for People of Determination:  

  • e // // @key2enable_uae // Empowering People of Determination to use tablets, computers and smartphones with adapted hardware, software and accessories  
  •  // // @heroes_of_hope_ // Social enterprise delivering equal opportunities for People of Determination including recreational activities, work opportunities and sporting events  
  • // @IHEARYOO // Mobile app that enables communication from text/audio to sign language and vice versa 
  • // // @iminclusive // Online platform that connects People of Determination to their local community, including them fully in accessible jobs, events and opportunities 
  •  // Inclusion-safe, seasonal, remote sleepover and day camps for all. Children, including Children of Determination in the UAE 
  • // // Solution for people with complete visual impairment to recognize and navigate their surroundings through the power of visual recognition and simple distance judging technology  
  •  // // @marthaeduapp // Educational smart cards and mobile app to educate hearing impaired children and parents on signing language  
  • // // Advocacy agency to bring support and empowerment in the hands of People of Determination in Abu Dhabi  
  • // @rab3i.platform // Social venture offering People of Determination an opportunity to attend recreational activities with a trained “buddy” who shares similar interests  

Cohort 02// Mental Health and Wellbeing:  

  • // // @nafasmena // Nafas app provides a wider library of meditation content that allows Arabic user to reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia through instilling the practice of mindfulness 
  •  // @himmacommunity // Mentoring through afterschool workshops to build self esteem, raise awareness about mental wellbeing, helping them discover their competencies and develop new skills. They have also launched a new podcast called #HimmaSpeaks where young girls aged 10 – 16 discuss various emotional and mental issues.  
  • // // @guidingstars // Guiding stars in an online platform and podcast supporting mothers in their mental health journey  
  • // Hold My Umbrella caters for caregivers across the UAE providing detailed toolkits to help guide them through daily challenges.  
  •  // // @shalaonline // Shala is an on-demand streaming platform of yoga and meditation classes in English and Arabic 
  • // // @mentalhealthae // Mental Health AE raising awareness to reduce the stigma of mental health, increasing community engagement through meet ups and offering affordable health services 
  • // // @peerminded // Online peer-to-peer support network for students in the UAE  
  • // // The smart way to train people to thrive and be at their best at work  
  • // @lookmag4kids // The Hamda & Hamed comic series and Look Magazine are magazines to life the taboo around mental health, empowering children and parents 

Cohort 03 // Family Cohesion 

  • // @storically_// a platform that creates personalized books that aim to preserve personal histories, enrich storytelling and enhance engagemen 
  • // @Hakawatyy // online storytelling sessions that increase child confidence and enables children to be productive, mindful and productive individuals. 
  • // // // a mobile application (iOS & Android) providing family & marriage counseling at unified prices and auto matching the user with the right counselor  
  • // @unpluggedinitiative // A toolkit in which devices can be stowed away in a compartment, and other compartments can be used to store family friendly activities and games, that will make time spent together much better as a whole. 
  • // @alnqsh20// Building a referential platform and e-reader for books and reviews of Arabic children and Young adults’ literature 
  •  Personality assessments, pre-marital e-counseling course and life skills coaching sessions to demystify the marital journey  
  • // @generationunpack // A monthly set of app-based & physical dialogue card packs teaching family members different facilitation techniques in conversation to resolve disputes based on their different characteristics and diagnostic app tools. 
  •  // @the_family_lounge // Giving families the opportunity to spend fun and quality time together using carefully designed games which will also evaluate their relationship, and providing recommendations for improving the relationship and referring them to coaching if needed. 
  • // @fitnessexpressfz //Fit family programme designed for kids and their parents, engaging children in physical activities at a younger age 
  • @Ourhomegame – providing customized games for kids to engage with parents. Our Home Game will gather the family in one place to have fun after a busy week for both kids and parents, increasing the engagement level when they play the family aspects together. 


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