Welcome to The Hub, your spot for ecosystem and accelerator news. In this news roundup, we provide you with the latest on organizations working to support, educate and fund innovators and their ideas. We’ll highlight cohort applications, people to know in the incubator world and programs working to give resources to those who typically don’t have access elsewhere. As always, we’re focused on underrepresented entrepreneurs — such as women, people of color, and those geographically outside power centers — and organizations supporting these demographics.
If you have a piece of news or a job listing you think will fit into this roundup, email it to Skyler Rossi at [email protected].
Egypt’s Startups on the Rise
The startup scene in the north African country is booming, according to an analysis published by Wamda, a source for Middle East and North African news. More money is flowing into startups there, and the recent funds raised by VCs in the area indicates it’s not slowing down.
Two weeks ago, Times of E reported the significant fund raised by Sawari Ventures. Another venture firm, Egypt-based Algebra, is in the process of raising its second fund, which it hopes will be around $90 million.
Egyptian startups focused on fintech are seeing a bulk of the investments — the sector accounts for 60% of the amount raised, Wamda reports. It received a boost from Central Bank’s $57 million fund and Disruptech’s $25 million fund, both focused on fintech startups. Disruptech’s founders include Fawry cofounder Mohamed Okasha and Dina Sherif, executive director of the MIT Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship and founder of Ahead of the Curve, a Cairo-based consultancy.
“We need more women because diversity in funding and startups means Egyptian women will be better served,” she said. “Diversity leads to better outcomes. And more women in fintech will lead to more inclusion of women who are at the margins — this ultimately benefits all of Egypt.”
A Proposal To Aid 4,000 Entrepreneurs and Create 100,000 Jobs
The Day One Project, a group that proposes science and technology policy change, has a new proposal: a challenge, called Rebooting the American Dream, that would give $25 million grants to six hubs in emerging innovation ecosystems, according to the proposal written by Scott Resnick, a leader in the Wisconsin ecosystem. It’s a plan the group predicts could “assist more than 4,000 entrepreneurs in developing thousands of new inventions while increasing wages and generating internationally tradable products,” he writes. It would also directly create at least 21,000 new jobs and indirectly create 80,000 new jobs, which is especially necessary as the pandemic eliminated about 10 million jobs, according to the proposal.
The goal is to create a more inclusive innovation economy in order to accelerate startup creation, develop the next generation of talent and provide alternative capitalization models coming off of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The RAD proposal aims to revive entrepreneurship across America by helping give every American, regardless of geography, race, gender, or socioeconomic status, the opportunity to build a competitive company,” Resnick writes.
Hello Future Plans Small Business Incubator for Refugee Teens
The New York City-based international education nonprofit announced April 12 its newest program: a small business incubator for refugee teens, which will launch in the fall, according to a news release and the organization’s website. Hello Future educates refugees, primarily ones located in Iraqi Kurdistan. This new incubator will be a “condensed MBA program”– participants will learn about basic business concepts, study business examples and learn how to build up their own startup. The goal is to “lift teens out of refugee camps and into a more stable, self-reliant future,” according to the release.
JP Morgan Pledges $2.5 Trillion for Climate Change and Developing Nations
JP Morgan Chase is investing $2.5 trillion over 10 years in climate change and sustainable development, the New York City-based bank announced Thursday. $1 trillion will be allocated for clean energy development, and the rest will be used to support socioeconomic development in developing countries and improve small business funding, education, housing and health care, according to the release.
The investment comes after the bank’s involvement with the now dissolved health care innovation initiative, Haven, which was also created by Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway. It shows the initiative’s failure does not mean healthcare issues are unfixable, an argument made by Ashok Subramanian, the CEO of Centivo, a Stamford, Connecticut-based company offering affordable health care.
“Haven’s demise should not be considered foreboding of the greater goal, especially since how it was organized and governed likely had more to do with its failure than its actual intent,” he wrote in January.
$750K For WSU Life Sciences
Washington State University’s life sciences incubator, Spinout Space in Spokane, has received a $750,000 award as part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology Challenge, according to a university announcement. The incubator launched last year and focuses on innovations in biotech, pharma, diagnostics, and medical device companies. Its approach is what made it stand out, the announcement says; The incubator matches startups in the area with executive advisors and interns to help expedite go-to-market actions. It plans to add funding opportunities for its cohorts.
Houston-based Mercury Fund Partners with DivInc, Funds Program
DivInc, the Austin-based accelerator that recently expanded into Houston, has partnered with Mercury Fund, a Houston-based venture capital firm with more than $300 million assets under management, the accelerator announced Wednesday. The fund will offer mentorship and expertise to DivInc’s program, which is focused on supporting underrepresented founders with technology startups. Founders who are selected for DivIncs free accelerator receive mentorship, education, networking and $10,000 in grant funding
Elite Retail Accelerator Opens Applications
Applications are open for NYC-based XRC Labs’ accelerator for startups focused on retail technology and consumer goods, according to its website. Selected entrepreneurs will receive funding and access to the program’s founding partners, which include Kurt Salmon and Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York City. XRC provides $135,000 in seed investment broken up in $60,000 in exchange for 6% equity and also a $75,000 safe note with a 20% discount and a $4 million cap. Companies must pay $35,000 for all of the services, according to the website. Applications are due May 14.
Texas Woman’s University Launches Grant for Women Veterans
The Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Texas Woman’s University launched a $250,000 grant program Wednesday to support women veterans in Texas who own a business or plan to launch one, according to a University release. The program, called Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant program, is the first the center has done specifically for women veterans. Each selected entrepreneur will receive funding in increments of $1,000 to $10,000. Additionally, each will be paired with mentors and complete a training course. Applications are due May 14.
UAE Property Developer Launches Second Incubator
Aldar, an Abu Dhabi-based property developer, has launched the second edition of its six month incubator focused on sustainable retail technology, according to an article published by Wamda. The program, called Manassah 2.0, was created through a partnership with startAD, an accelerator powered by Tamkeen and housed at New York University Abu Dhabi, the Ministry of Culture & Youth, the Khalifa Fund, the Department of Community Development and Hong Kong-based Brinc accelerator. Selected entrepreneurs will receive benefits worth up to AED 1 Million, which includes space at an Aldar research destination and the opportunity to pilot innovations with Aldar Properties. Applications are due May 22.
Aldar also recently launched a youth-focused accelerator called Manassah Youth, which will train entrepreneurs between the ages of 15-18. The four week program launched April 4.
An Incubator For Incubators in India
Villgro, a startup incubator based in Chennai, India, has launched what it’s calling an “incubating incubators” program to support the startup ecosystem in the country, CRN India reports. It aims to mentor incubators to expand their capacity, according to the article. The 22 selected incubators in the first cohort began the program on April 12 and will finish on June 30. The program is a partnership with The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, India.