Entrepreneur Middle East Partners With Global Healthcare Company Organon And Egypt-Based Flat6Labs To Discuss Innovation In Women's Healthcare

The event was held in the presence of an in-person audience, and was simultaneously broadcasted live to pre-registered online attendees.

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On February 24, 2022, global healthcare company Organon and Egypt-based seed and early-stage venture capital firm Flat6Labs, in partnership with Entrepreneur Middle East, staged a policy discussion titled "How Innovation Is Transforming Women's Health," at Expo 2020 Dubai's USA Pavilion.

Organon/Entrepreneur Middle East
Left to right: Sophie Smith, CEO, Nabta Health, Ahmed Alfi, Chairman, Sawari Ventures, H.E. Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of Public Health, UAE MOHAP, Mazen Altaruti, President, LAMERA, Organon, and Dr. Shamsa Al Awar, Chair, Obstetrics and Genecology Dep

The event was staged to an in-person audience, and was simultaneously broadcasted live to pre-registered online attendees. The day's proceedings were started with opening speeches frrom Megan Gregonis, United States Consul General to Dubai, as well as Meghan Hagberg, Senior Vice President, Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU).

Ramy Koussa, Associate VP MENAT, Organon. Source: Organon/Entrepreneur Middle East

This was followed by a keynote speech by Ramy Koussa, Associate VP MENAT, Organon, who presented the impact of Organon's innovative solutions that serve people in more than 140 markets around the world.

The ensuring panel discussion, moderated by Entrepreneur Middle East Managing Editor Tamara Pupic, featured H.E. Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of Public Health, UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), Dr. Shamsa Al Awar, Chair, Obstetrics and Genecology Department, UAE University, Mazen Altaruti, President, LAMERA, Organon, Ahmed Alfi, Chairman, Sawari Ventures, and Sophie Smith, CEO, Nabta Health.

Left to right: Sophie Smith, CEO, Nabta Health, Ahmed Alfi, Chairman, Sawari Ventures, H.E. Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of Public Health, UAE MOHAP, Mazen Altaruti, President, LAMERA, Organon, and Dr. Shamsa Al Awar, Chair, Obstetrics and Genecology Department, UAE University.
Source: Organon/Entrepreneur Middle East

As experts in their respective fields, the speakers delved into how innovation in life sciences as well as technology is disrupting the women's health space. The many unmet needs in women's healthcare and the opportunities in the industry that cater to these were one of the key highlights of the discussion. The speakers also looked into the role of the private sector, especially female-founded startups, which has traditionally been an overlooked segment of the healthcare and life sciences industry.

Speaking on the panel, Altaruti said, "We are committed to advancing women's healthcare across the region by listening to and addressing their unmet needs. The future of healthcare is digital, and with 50% of femtech companies run by female entrepreneurs, and 5.8% of all femtech companies located in MENA. At Organon, we are keen to provide them with the support they need. By leveraging innovation in the female startup space, and the insights of these women, together we can advance women's healthcare in the Middle East."

The panel discussion was moderated by Tamara Pupic (far left), Entrepreneur Middle East, Managing Editor. Source: Organon/Entrepreneur Middle East

On his part, Ahmed Alfi, founder of Flat6Labs and Chairman of Sawari Ventures, touched upon how one of the key challenges facing Middle Eastern female entrepreneurs is access to funding. "Despite this, the femtech sector shows great promise in delivering critical innovations needed to improve women's healthcare," he said. "Accordingly, we must raise the opportunities for success among women by providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed in finding and gaining access to funding."

Dr. Shamsa Al Awar, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at UAE University, noted that the femtech sector, despite being a relatively young sector, has shown great promise to address some of the leading health concerns of women in the region. "Women's reproductive health is a key consideration in the digital health space, helping empower women to take critical decisions regarding their health and wellness," she said. "The sector is on the verge of transforming women's healthcare. I look forward to seeing what innovators in the space come up with in the future to help solve the wellbeing challenges we face. Further it a duty for the innovators to clear the possible burden of the new innovations on women mental and physical health such as stress exerted by the new changes."

Meanwhile, Dr. Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of Public Health, UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, highlighted her entity's specific focus on advancing women's healthcare in the UAE. "Understanding and addressing women's unmet healthcare needs is key to achieving our MOHAP vision of an effective and sustainable healthcare system for a happy society. By collaborating and engaging with organizations such as Organon, we can work towards empowering women and creating stronger, healthier and more resilient societies."

Sophie Smith, CEO of Nabta Health, shared her views on what innovation in the healthcare sector should translate to. "With barriers to access in both tech and healthcare, supporting women in these sectors in MENA is critical," she said. "By leveraging female-led innovation in the digital sector, we are tapping into a valuable opportunity to empower women and improve their health."

The panel discussion comes on the back of an ongoing partnership between Organon and Flat6Labs, which has seen the two organizations partner to launch their Femtech Accelerator Program. The program is designed to help female-founded digital health startups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that address unmet female healthcare needs in line with Organon's mission. Participating startups will receive wide-ranging support to support and grow their businesses, including building products, testing the market fit, improving operating models and gaining access to funding.

Organon and Flat6Labs have received 60 applications from across the MENA region to date--entries to the accelerator program remain open until March 30, 2022.