MENA entrepreneurs, here’s an opportunity to learn best practices from Europe’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, and work with mentors and entrepreneurs at one of the fastest growing startup cities in the world: Berlin.
In a move that can provide global exposure to the region’s startups, Mighty Labs, a pre-accelerator program run by Berlin-based coworking space betahaus, is inviting entrepreneurs from the MENA region for its 2016 cycle. While betahaus has run several accelerator programs since its inception in 2009, this is the first year the organization has decided to support early-stage entrepreneurs with the launch of Mighty Labs. As the name suggests, pre-accelerator programs are ideal for those contemplating joining an accelerator, or those in early stages of product development.
With a country/theme-based cycle each year, Mighty Labs’ program will comprise of two 12-day training sessions at betahaus, separated by one month of prototype testing in the home country. With a mission to enable novice entrepreneurs “propel their ventures to the next stage,” the 2016 cycle offers participants opportunities to meet and engage with Germany’s entrepreneur community, enjoy expert mentorship, access workspace at betahaus, and pitch ideas to investors.
Commenting on the program’s focus on the MENA region, Max von der Ahé, co-founder and CEO, betahaus says, “The entrepreneurship space in the MENA region is just phenomenal, and given the incredible response to our program over the past few months as we are preparing for the first cycle, we will probably be exploring more programs in the region, including country-based cycles and e-learning for entrepreneurs.”
With organizers clarifying that the program’s aim is to prepare entrepreneurs to return and launch ventures in their home countries, the trainings, set to take place in October 2016 and January 2017, cover subjects such as developing a business model, design, prototyping, growth hacking, pitching lessons, and more. Open to entrepreneurs under the age of 39 who are permanently based in MENA, the applications will be assessed based on strength of the product and team, quality of pitch deck, and other criteria highlighted in a Medium post by Mighty Labs. Though it’s a paid program, full and partial scholarships are available.
Deadline for applications for the Mighty Labs program is September 1, 2016.
Excerpts from an interview with betahaus’ Max von der Ahé:
Why is Mighty Labs focusing on the MENA region this year?
“The entrepreneurship ecosystem in the MENA region has really come of age in recent years. It's an incredible, promising pool of talent with a few amazing success stories like Souq, Digikala, and Bayt. At the betahaus we have been repeatedly approached to run programs in the MENA region. We love to support local ecosystems -we already do in Germany, Spain, and Bulgaria- and with the MENA region emerging as one of the most vibrant ecosystems, we just had to be part of it!”
What is the eligibility criteria for the startups that are interested in joining? Any particular sector the startups should be from?
“We're open to young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs and founders, no matter their sector. Most participants will be at a very early stage of building their business, and we are as interested in their personal character (like determination, endurance, and acumen) as we are in their business ideas. We do require that all applicants are resident in a MENA country and that they return to their home country to launch their venture after Mighty Labs as we want them to grow in their local ecosystem.”