Sheraa Plans Fund for Start-up Investments, Says CEO


Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa), a government-backed entity in the UAE, plans to establish its own fund to invest in potential start-ups. Sheraa aims to focus its first fund on early-stage companies in traditional and futuristic sectors such as education technology, clean technology, sustainability, manufacturing, and creative industries.

Currently, Sheraa supports start-ups without taking equity, but the upcoming fund will allow the organization to invest in start-ups’ journeys and contribute to their growth. Sheraa has played a significant role in building Sharjah’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and has received support from corporate partners like Air Arabia, Crescent Enterprises, Sharjah Media City, and Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park.

The new fund aims to finance sectors that are traditionally overlooked by venture capitalists, focusing on areas with funding gaps. Sheraa’s CEO, Najla Al Midfa, highlighted the importance of achieving equity within families to address the gender pay gap, emphasizing the impact of unpaid caregiving and household labor on women’s economic power.

Sheraa’s ecosystem supports a diverse range of start-ups, and the organization plans to incubate over 200 start-ups next year. Al Midfa emphasized the inclusivity of Sheraa’s ethos, with 52% of start-ups founded by women entrepreneurs. Sheraa has contributed significantly to Sharjah’s economic growth and aims to strengthen its identity as an entrepreneurial hub that complements other cities in the region.

The organization is looking to attract family offices, recognizing their potential role in unlocking wealth and supporting start-ups. The Sheraa incubation program has achieved a cumulative survival rate of nearly 70%, rising to 90% in the past two years. The non-profit government organization has innovation hubs at the American University of Sharjah and the University of Sharjah, contributing to Sharjah’s economic diversification efforts.

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