Impactful Innovation: Social Entrepreneurship for a Better Tomorrow

By Naila Tariq

A quick look at the state of the world today is enough to understand that much needs to be improved. There are seemingly ever-increasing numbers of refugees, of people in need, of injustice and conflict.

However, bleak as that may be, it does also mean that there is ever-increasing potential to do good. The younger generation especially feel the need to do their part; more and more youth are engaging in community work and developing ideas to better the planet.

Overall, there has been a rise of organizations aimed at improving society, the economy, and the world at large. Examples include Slices, a food and beverage company that provides healthy meals for schoolchildren, and Socialbandage, which raises health awareness and helps the poor receive medical help.

Sheraa’s Accelerator Program graduate The Mawada Project provides community service and volunteer opportunities for children through workshops, camps, and weekend programs.

There’s ReAble, which builds apps for people with special needs to help them lead more integrated lives. Their first product is the ReAble Wallet, which allows people with special needs to manage their finances.

Speaking of apps, Smart Labour is designed for blue-collar workers in the United Arab Emirates. It teaches them money management, language and communication skills, and the laws and customs of the country, and it allows them to stay in touch with their families back home.

Similarly, the Rise app trains nannies to be better caretakers, while providing them access to loans and investments. Rise also helps employers seamlessly manage salaries, insurance, and more.

These organizations and the people who run them are part of a brand of entrepreneurship known as social enterprise, dedicated to making the world a better place through social or humanitarian endeavors.

According to the Forbes article “Social Enterprise Could Be The UAE’s Next Big Venture — If Government And Investors Step Up,” about the rise of this form entrepreneurship in the UAE, the number of social enterprises is increasing across the Arab world.

In fact, all the examples above are based in the UAE, with plenty more where they came from.

The UAE is dedicated to providing a better future for its youth and creating a positive impact on the world at large. Each year now has a theme; 2016 was declared as the Year of Reading and this year has been named the Year of Giving.

However, the ecosystem has yet to fully develop, meaning there is massive room for growth, with the younger generation being the key drivers for change.

With this increased interest comes increased opportunity to fill a fast-growing market with innovative ideas that shape the future.

Sheraa recognizes this potential, which is why we have partnered with Crescent Enterprises to launch the Social Enterprise track, wherein aspiring change-makers and do-gooders can generate ideas and learn to develop them into full-fledged startups that build brighter futures and better tomorrows.

The March 27 Social Enterprise Day is the first step in our mission, providing mentorship and advice from social startups and ecosystem veterans as you brainstorm ideas.

From there, participants move on to our Ideathon bootcamp in April, which is a condensed version of our three-week Ideathon. During the two-day program, you validate your idea with potential customers and learn to develop a lean business model canvas.

Selected applicants are then entered into our Incubator program, in which you build and test a prototype.

Finally, those who pass the Incubator phase are accepted into our Accelerator program. This is where teams receive seed funding, discounted trade licenses, free co-working space and more as you develop your product or service.

So if you want to change the world, but you’re not quite sure how, stop by Sheraa and let’s help you get started.

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