Source: Trade Arabia
As a partner in the Majid Al Futtaim Launchpad accelerator initiative, Microsoft intends to commit resources and expertise to startups and SMEs across the Middle East and North Africa.
“The MENA region has one of the most unique and inspiring homegrown entrepreneurial communities in the world. Through Majid Al Futtaim Launchpad, we aim to nurture this ecosystem, provide expertise, tools and create opportunities for SMEs and startups in strategic sectors to scale their growth plans and support the overall economic development of our Markets,” said Joe Abi Akl, Chief Corporate Development Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Holding.
“With Microsoft as a key partner in our Launchpad Programme, we hope to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and lay the groundwork for a prosperous future, not only for the UAE, but for communities across the region.”
Announced in June, the Majid Al Futtaim Launchpad initiative is aimed at assembling partners to support startups and SMEs in strategic sectors in their growth journeys, thereby bolstering the innovation ecosystem and spurring economic development. As a strategic partner in the Launchpad scheme, Microsoft intends to provide a range of benefits for participants.
“Microsoft is proud to stand with Majid Al Futtaim in its efforts to empower start-ups and SMEs and foster economic growth,” said Naim Yazbeck, General Manager, Microsoft UAE. “Every business has the potential to be disrupted, and the fast-moving retail industry is on the frontline, serving an ever-growing number of discerning consumers. We look forward to supporting innovative enterprises on their journeys by offering technology and knowledge as they turn their ideas into reality.”
Through the Microsoft for Startups Founder’s Hub Programme, the company intends to provide technology resources that allow startups to build their products. This includes access to Azure, and use of Visual Studio Enterprise and GitHub Enterprise.
Other technologies planned to be provided by Microsoft for day-to-day business operations include Microsoft 365 and within this Teams, and Power Platform as well as Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Service platforms. Eligible Launchpad participants may also have an opportunity to get go-to-market support from Microsoft through the company’s Co-Sell Programme, as well as benefit from Azure Marketplace. Furthermore, Microsoft plans to offer industry mentorship and one-to-one technical consultancy sessions for B2B startups.
In its first phase, the Majid Al Futtaim Launchpad will focus on supporting 3 core growth areas, including Homegrown Brands to attract startups with a unique and fascinating story, focusing on culture and heritage, sustainability, and innovation; Health and Beauty to identify and elevate startups with innovative products and tech solutions designed to elevate the customer experience; and Proptech to target startups that offer innovative and sustainable solutions to help optimise the efficiency of construction, digitise property development, residential communities and hotels spaces, and enhance the experiences in the shopping mall.