72% of respondents confirmed that their businesses were negatively impacted to a certain extent since the COVID-19 crisis began, leading to cost cutting measures.
For most startups, the greatest obstacle was their cash runway, with 79% of entrepreneurs having between 1-6 months of runway. 74.3% of the entrepreneurs stated financial support was necessary to cover employee salaries.
In response to the financial pressures faced, 65% of the surveyed entrepreneurs have reported to be currently carrying out fundraising efforts.
NAJLA AL MIDFA, CEO OF SHERAA, SAID:
“Crescent Enterprises has always been a supportive partner to Sheraa, and was among the first to reach out to us when the crisis hit. This partnership speaks to our shared commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and developing a nurturing environment for innovative ventures. These grants will enable high-potential startups, whose growth and impact have been unduly derailed by COVID, to extend their cash runways.”
BADR JAFAR, CEO, CRESCENT ENTERPRISES COMMENTED:
“With governments and frontline workers springing into action to tackle the immediate effects of the pandemic, everyone has an important role to play in supporting our social and economic foundations. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is a crucial pillar of our economy, and we must come together in a collective effort to support promising startups through this turbulent time. Our long-standing partnership with Sheraa is built with the purpose of nurturing entrepreneurial communities across the UAE and the wider MENA region, and we pledge to do what is necessary to support this community and stand together in the face of adversity.”
TUSHAR SINGHVI, DIRECTOR, CE-VENTURES, SAID:
“The direct impact of startups on the cities they call home is plentiful, and now is the time to support them as they navigate these challenging times. From boosting the economy with revolutionary technology to creating new industries, they are increasingly integral to a thriving economy. Through this initiative, we will work to ensure their survival. We look forward to supporting entrepreneurs through what is an interim challenge, as the UAE looks forward to reaping long-term socio-economic benefits of their prosperity.”
The application process for the equity-free grant pool is set to open in the last two weeks of May 2020, after which startups will be shortlisted by a committee consisting of members from CE-Ventures, Sheraa and an independent venture capital firm. A set list of criteria has been drawn and will focus on various areas including product concept and roadmap, market opportunity, conversion funnel, and financial plan.
About Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center):
Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) was launched in January 2016 to support and grow early stage, tech-enabled ventures. It is the first step of the entrepreneurial journey, supporting founders as they develop their ideas, build and launch their initial products, and become investment ready. Sheraa also provides a soft-landing offering to established tech startups that want to build a presence in Sharjah, helping to transform the emirate into a thriving entrepreneurship hub.
Sheraa - meaning ‘Sail’ in Arabic – is cultivating an entrepreneurial culture that empowers founders to improve
their communities and change the world.
Sheraa, a non-profit government organization, is headquartered at the American University of Sharjah and hosts a thriving community of ambitious entrepreneurs. The second Sheraa hub, launched in September 2018, is located at the University of Sharjah.
Since its inception, Sheraa has successfully built a community of over 10,000 entrepreneurs and ecosystem players. Over 100 startups have graduated from Sheraa’s programs, generating over $35 million in revenue and raising over $50 million in investment. In addition, Sheraa startups have created over 600 jobs.
For more information, please visit - https://sheraa.ae/
CE-Ventures is the corporate venture capital (CVC) platform of Crescent Enterprises, making strategic investments in early- to late-stage high-growth companies and select venture funds globally. The platform was launched in 2017 and initially capitalised with USD 150 million to be invested by 2020, 50% of which is targeted towards the MENA region.
CE-Ventures is focused on investing in strategic domains such as EnergyTech, Supply Chain Management Technologies, FinTech, Healthcare, Enterprise (SaaS); in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT, Big Data; and niche consumer-focused technology companies. CE-Ventures actively invests across the USA, Middle East and North Africa region, India, and South East Asia region.
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