This is definitely good news for budding startups and entrepreneurs, as Wamda X, the grant-based fellowship programme for budding entrepreneurs and early-stage startups, is now accepting applications for its second cohort. The four-month programme aims to identify and support the Middle East and North Africa’s (Mena) most promising entrepreneurs and founding teams in their early stages. The second cohort will start in January and will be based at the Wamda X space in Dubai.
“Recent research suggests that globally, investors’ focus has started to shift to later-stage investments. In the Mena region, investors’ appetite has increased since the Souq.com and Careem exits, which have each marked turning points in the tech ecosystem. The influx of global tech giants such as Amazon and Uber setting up in Mena over the past five years has also accelerated the region’s overall tech infrastructure.We see that individuals are increasingly looking to leave their jobs and launch their own venture, but there is a growing mismatch between these aspiring founders and the number of investors willing to support them,” says says Wamda Capital Investment Principal Sarah Abu Risheh, who is leading the programme.
Wamda X seeks to assist pre-seed entrepreneurs, by providing investment, working space and access to the region’s most notable mentors among other benefits.
The programme is divided into three phases: X START, X SOLVE and X SCALE, each designed to help founders reach specific milestones and to provide them with the right platform and tools.
Successful applicants or “fellows” will receive a $30,000 financial grant with the option of follow-on investment of up to $100,000 from Wamda Capital. In addition, fellows will receive more than $10,000 worth of in-kind benefits in the form of subsidised access to software and support services.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the month of October and fellows will be selected based on their ability to identify and solve market inefficiencies. The competitive programme is set to begin in January 2020.