DANA Virtual Launch: Women Lead the Region to a Sustainable Future
|Dana Desert Alliance New-Era Accelerator|
|July 6, 2021|
DANA is an Abu Dhabi based accelerator for women-led startups in the realm of desert tech, including sectors such as agritech, foodtech, water solutions, renewable energy, and waste management. DANA works with startups between pre-seed and series A through a bespoke program, tailored to the needs of each startup, focused on adapting technological solutions to the industry pain points of the MENA region.
“We chose Abu Dhabi because of the emirate’s increased focus on food security, desert agriculture and indoor farming, sustainability, and climate tech, and because the UAE has positioned itself as a hub for MENA region innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem enablers,” explain Katie Wachsberger, co-founder of DANA and the UAE Markets Director. “It is incredible to witness the rapid growth of that burgeoning ecosystem, and to be part of the solution to serious challenges of climate change in the Gulf.”
DANA works with startups in a tailor-made manner, addressing needs in business plan construction, scaling strategies, mentorship and team effectiveness, POC and feasibility studies, business development, and fundraising. From an early stage, DANA emphasizes the importance of impact-oriented discourse and marketing, as well as impact ROI measurement, taking part in the mega trend of impact investment, and working closely with mentors from Pitango, the largest impact VC fund in Israel.
“The choice to build a business based on impact is a strategic decision that takes into account the future of the startup as a central player in the transforming global economy,” asserts Shirley Shahar, Business Development Director, and co-founder of the accelerator. “The agritech space is rapidly growing, the world’s population needs more and more food security, and we know that this sector is a promising one, albeit more gradual in its growth.”
The DANA program is built in a way that emphasizes the capabilities of women that lead them to excel in the agritech, foodtech, and sustainability sectors, including the ability to conceive long-term processes, consider the importance of benefitting the collective, patience and strategic planning, and of course, the ability to multitask. Many women entrepreneurs from the region already have access to information and experience in farming and food production, making them natural leaders for this field.
DANA seeks to utilize the technological experience and ecosystem maturity of the Israeli innovation economy to benefit the entire region, specifically through supporting women innovators and entrepreneurs who would have increased success and credibility after having completed POC and had access to mentors in Israel.
“Large corporations in the MENA region rarely acquire local tech, unless that tech is Israeli,” explained Zada Haj, DANA’s CEO. “When we create a platform that is based on abilities and experience of the Israeli ecosystem, we are essentially offering entrepreneurs from the entire region the credibility and support they need to scale and eventually exit. This is the biggest gift we have to bring, in addition to our ecosystem’s ability to solve difficult challenges in food production, which is essential for the Middle East.”
The MENA ecosystem has a lot more progress to be made, and the challenges are more significant than the lack of accelerators. In early 2022, DANA will launch the MENA Angel Accelerator, training women with capital from the region to invest in women-led startups, with a focus on climate tech, impact, and solutions that benefit the collective.
The DANA team is excited to officially launch and begin working closely with their first cohort of five incredible startups from Israel, the UAE, and Gaza, in the realms of agritech, foodtech, waste management, and renewable energy. DANA is dedicated to helping the female founders and CEOs leading these initiatives to succeed and to change the nature of the region’s ecosystem.
On July 13, DANA Accelerator will host a virtual launch event to mark its first cohort, and entrance to the Abu Dhabi ecosystem.
The event, “Women Lead the Region to a Sustainable Future” will include inquisitive content that explores opportunities in the realm of desert tech regionally, role of women in the MENA tech ecosystem, the importance of women-led investment and acceleration platforms, and the necessity of regional collaboration and diversity in addressing challenges of climate change.
For details: https://www.dana-global.com/danalaunch
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