April 18, 2024

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Mastercard and Aramex announce The Surpluss as ScaleUp 2023 competition winner

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The Surpluss has been announced as the winning business in the Mastercard and Aramex ScaleUp 2023 initiative, designed to support the UAE’s startup and small and medium enterprise (SME) community. Launched in October 2023, ScaleUp was developed in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy’s The Entrepreneurial Nation, presenting an exciting opportunity for the country’s startups and SMEs to pitch their innovative ideas.

The announcement was made during a special ceremony celebrating ScaleUp 2023 in Dubai, an exclusive networking event that brought together the UAE’s booming startup community to offer advice on running a successful business. The event saw inspirational talks from Mastercard, Aramex and RAKBANK executives who shared guidance and insights for SMEs on their growth journeys.

The Surpluss is the world’s first B2B platform for surpluss resource sharing, helping companies reduce waste and save costs by identifying unused resources and finding new homes for them. As winner of ScaleUp 2023, Rana Hajirasouli, Founder of the Surpluss, will receive a grant worth AED250,000 and an invitation to an exclusive angel investor lunch. In addition, she will benefit from marketing exposure, business mentorship and preferential rates for logistics services from Aramex.

The competition witnessed a strong uptake from the UAE’s startup community, with more than 300 entries received. Recurring submission themes included sustainability, waste management, education and financial services.

The runners-up were Fero Ai, the provider of an intelligent business automation software for the logistics sector, and Nadeera Technologies, a social enterprise that specializes in innovative digitally enabled solutions for solid waste management. Both runners up also received an invitation to the exclusive angel investor lunch.

“At Mastercard, we pledged to bring 50 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into the digital economy by 2025, and initiatives such as ScaleUp bring this commitment to life. We thank Aramex for their partnership and joint commitment to grow SMEs in the region.  It was inspiring to see the sheer amount of innovation and creativity hundreds of entrants brought to the table. We congratulate The Surpluss on the win and look forward to helping them further scale up their business,” said Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, EEMEA, Mastercard.

“Building on its strong legacy of fostering the region’s startup scene, Aramex proactively works to enable entrepreneurs to strengthen their contribution to the UAE’s economic development and amplify the positive impact of startup-led innovation. Our collaboration with Mastercard is a prime example of our efforts to fuel a dynamic SME ecosystem with solid foundations for long-term growth. The quality of this year’s ScaleUp entries, and especially their high focus on sustainability, gives us confidence that startups in the UAE are well-equipped to lead the way to a brighter future,” said Tarek Abu Yaghi, General Manager, UAE, Aramex.

“As a UAE-based female founder of a climate-technology start up, winning this prize is a game changer for us. The opportunity to be supported by industry leaders such as Mastercard and Aramex reinforces there is a need for digitalization across SME value chains that contributes to meaningful climate action. Deep seated cross-sectoral collaboration is the catalyst for sustainability transformation, and this is the perfect opportunity to execute this whilst scaling our impact. We are honored and thrilled to have been part of such an exceptional competition, and look forward to what is yet to come,” said Rana Hajirasouli, Founder, The Surpluss.

The ScaleUp platform aligns with the UAE’s ambition to become home to 20 unicorns by 2031. SMEs already represent 94% of companies operating in the country and contribute more than 50% to its GDP. According to forecasts, the number of small businesses in the UAE will reach 1 million by 2030.

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