While every country has both a public and private sector, another actually exists in between the two.
Dubbed ‘the third sector,’ it belongs neither wholly to the public or private sector but is rather a hybrid of the two - this ecosystem brings both sectors together to improve the lives of citizens through real-world social impact efforts. Charities, social enterprises, and other entities are part of the third sector, which is sometimes dubbed the ‘voluntary sector.’
Founded in February 2019 by the Department of Community Development Abu Dhabi, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an drives social innovation and builds a culture of social contribution and participation to address social priorities in Abu Dhabi, while aiming to strengthen the emirate's position as one of the world’s best destinations to work and live in.
Ma’an brings together the government, private sector and civil society with the objective to support innovative solutions and contribute to the development of strong, active, collaborative and inclusive communities.
Driven by the mandate of creating social impact and making a positive difference in the everyday lives of Abu Dhabi residents and citizens, Ma’an aims to support and accelerate the growth of the third sector, creating meaningful opportunities for not-for-profit organisations or foundations and social enterprises that contribute to the development of the community.
Since being founded in 2019, Ma’an has developed multiple programmes to support ventures that can create a positive social impact in the emirate. These include:
Ma’an Social Incubator and Accelerator Programme - Ma’an invests in and nurtures existing startup social enterprises that demonstrate a clear ability to deliver sustainable positive social impact directly aligned with solving identified priority social challenges in Abu Dhabi.
The 5th cohort, which was launched under the theme of supporting senior citizens and residents, recently closed for applications.
Ma’an Grants Programme - Provides vital funding support to not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises that are committed to addressing key social priorities in Abu Dhabi in order for them to develop and grow, as part of Ma’an’s ongoing efforts to drive social impact and innovation in the emirate.
Some SMEs and startups successfully incubated by Ma’an include:
Tanfees: An app for providing family & marriage counselling for individuals seeking mental and emotional support.
Bessern: A learning platform that improves employee development, performance and well-being.
ImInclusive: The first social media and recruitment platform that connects People of Determination to top career development opportunities.
I Hear You: An app that translates sign language for communication and learning.
Family Lounge: A company that provides interactive sessions between parents and kids where they can have fun and play together in exercises that weave in effective coaching techniques.
Bazaara: A peer-to-peer social marketplace platform for buying and selling preloved clothing and accessories in the MENA region
Watch this space for upcoming cycles, which are held biannually.