Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has revealed 14 start-ups and SME winners to join its Launchpad accelerator programme across three categories, Homegrown, Health and Beauty, and Proptech. The successful companies will now receive unrivalled access to business growth incentives, mentorship programmes and the vast Majid Al Futtaim innovation ecosystem to strengthen their commercial viability across the region.
Following the initial announcement of the programme and an open call for submissions in partnership with AstroLabs and Microsoft, Majid Al Futtaim received 196 applications from across the MENAP region and globally. From 23 shortlisted applicants demonstrating ingenuity, originality and vast commercial potential, the winning start-ups include The Bath Land, The Hair Addict, The Zola Collective, Wallace & Co, Sigma-Fit, Opio, Reform Studio, Little Sol+, Kiliim, Thaely, Boksha, Stake, enVerid Systems and Disrupt-X.
Joe Abi Akl, Chief Corporate Development Officer at Majid Al Futtaim – Holding, said: “The Majid Al Futtaim Launchpad initiative is a vital element of our ecosystem, nurturing entrepreneurship and supporting small and medium enterprises in the pursuit of innovation, creativity, and growth. Today’s announcement is a critical step forward in our mission to support small businesses in their journey to create new products and services that could ultimately become our business partners and suppliers in the future. The programme will now begin delivering a host of significant benefits, supporting our vision of building a meaningful, efficient, effective and globally integrated business environment.”
The winners, as well as the shortlisted SMEs will receive a host of additional benefits provided by Microsoft, complementing Majid Al Futtaim’s range of services, to ensure SMEs are armed with best-in class capabilities from both organisations with significant ecosystems.
Ramy Fares, Director: Retail & Travel Industry at Microsoft Middle East and Africa said: “Nurturing Startups is a crucial part of our work at Microsoft to support the digital economy and accelerate innovation. Through Microsoft for Startups, we are accelerating Startup growth in 140 countries by delivering access to innovative technologies, go-to-market strategies and Microsoft’s vast ecosystem of partners and customers. We are proud of our partnership with Majid Al Futtaim’s Launchpad and congratulate the change-makers who have won the first Proptech launchpad accelerator program.”
Roland Daher, Chief Executive Officer at AstroLabs, said: The Launchpad Program is a milestone in our journey of accelerating innovation for industry leaders in MENA and growth through strategic expansion into new markets, customer segments, and channels by plugging future-forward companies into Majid Al Futtaim’s value chain. A key factor to the success of this initiative was the involvement and commitment of Majid Al Futtaim’s senior leadership and business unit heads, working closely with the AstroLabs team to identify market opportunities these emerging businesses will be solving for. We engaged our extensive local & global innovation network to source the top offerings in their respective verticals and drive potential synergies that will be at the forefront of Majid Al Futtaim’s long-term business and economic growth.’’
Yahya Mohamed Saleh, Co-Founder & CEO, Boksha, said: “Integrating with Majid Al Futtaim will help Boksha empower talented fashion designers through online and offline channels by leveraging the scale and reputation of a highly reputable, regional company. At the end of the day, we want to take Khaleeji fashion to the global stage. Having been underserved for a long time, we see the massive potential now to empower young designers through this meaningful partnership with Majid Al Futtaim.”
Rami Tabbara, Co-Founder, Stake, said: “Today’s Launchpad event demonstrated this region’s huge potential in the prop-tech space. To be a winner is enormous – Majid Al Futtaim is a cornerstone of the economy, and for Stake to become part of its ecosystem is a proud moment and testament to all we have worked for over the past 18 months. As a winner, it allows our team to scale our operations, provides credibility by being associated with the Majid Al Futtaim brand and supports our mission to be the leading real estate investment platform in the MENA region.”
Anusha Mahtani, Co-Founder, The Zola Collective, said: “The major impact for our business as a Launchpad winner comes through the integration with Maid Al Futtaim’s diverse ecosystem. Having tried and tested all our products, we are now ready to take our brand into the mainstream. Today’s achievement represents a major step towards accomplishing that goal. By tapping into the Majid Al Futtaim network, we aim to continue building our community and making the right connections to facilitate the growth and expansion of The Zola Collective. Looking at the big picture, just reaching the finals will change the whole course of our business. Every start-up dreams of going international – working with Majid Al Futtaim and its regional footprint makes this dream a reality.”
The first round of Majid Al Futtaim’s Launchpad programme focused efforts on supporting core growth areas, including Homegrown Brands to attract start-ups with a unique and fascinating story, focusing on culture and heritage, sustainability, and innovation; Health and Beauty to identify and elevate start-ups with innovative products and tech solutions designed to elevate the customer experience; and Proptech to target start-ups that offer innovative and sustainable solutions to help optimise the efficiency of construction, digitise property development, residential communities and hotels spaces, and enhance the experiences in the shopping mall.
Providing best-in-class mentoring and supporting companies to grow their business quickly while attracting, nurturing, and supporting world-class talent, the Launchpad initiative reaffirms the company’s role in the private sector as a driver of local economies and its long-term ambition to be a partner of choice for pioneering initiatives and investments in the region.