GE launches the MEMakers Venture Program with Wamda for eleven start-up ventures at its GE Ecomagination Innovation Center, which acts as an industrial incubator. This six-week program is part of the company’s strategic vision in the region to accelerate digital industrial entrepreneurship ecosystems across the Middle East and North Africa region.
More than 20 GE employees signed up to act as mentors for the program, offering cutting edge insights on how to drive the growth of the start-up ventures who work in digital industrial technologies. The opening chapter of the event was held at the GE Ecomagination Innovation Center in Masdar City. Further touch points over the next six weeks will be virtual, and will culminate in a finale to be held during the UAE Innovation Week from November 22-28.
Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer of GE MENAT, said: “The MEMakers Venture Program is a path-breaking platform steered by GE and Wamda to promote entrepreneurship among start-ups in the region, and support the governmental vision to drive a culture of innovation. GE’s employees mentored the high-potential start-ups on various aspects of driving business growth including leadership, management skills, financing, and technology development.”
“The program is a two-way street. Our employees benefit greatly from learning how start-ups work, in support of our efforts to be a leaner, faster organization to better serve our customers. We want to encourage and grow an entrepreneurship ecosystem that can help propel industry forward – this is aligned to our Industrial Internet and Advance Manufacturing focus. The program reflects our commitment to the region to support the co-creation of solutions, promote innovation, and contribute to diversified growth of the economy,” she added.
Habib Hadad of Wamda, said: “By connecting GE employees, who have in-depth international experience in technology development and business management, with impactful start-up entrepreneurs, we aim to drive beneficial change at the grassroots level. Inspiring entrepreneurs, supporting them in incubating their ideas, and ensuring they have the right skills and knowledge to propel their businesses are imperative to building the next generation of regional leaders. The structured approach to mentoring by GE seeks to enable the participants to achieve professional success and in turn, inspire more entrepreneurs to step forward.”
The MEMakers Venture Program is a two-way learning process that benefits the mentors and the participants. While the start-up entrepreneurs derive the benefit of industry knowledge and professional skills from GE’s employees, the latter gain exposure to bright new ideas and new ways of approaching problems, to further enhance the efficiency of the innovation and co-creation model that GE drives in the MENA region.
Among the areas covered include mentorship support by GE employees to help the start-ups in articulating their vision, identifying present and future needs, and unlocking innovation in business models and products. The mentorship then shifts to entrepreneurial management training by sharing the principles of FastWorks, GE’s initiative to promote ‘start-up’ culture internally and externally. FastWorks is built on the disciplines of lean manufacturing and agile software development.
The participating entrepreneurs will benefit from finding a supportive group that is familiar with their field of interest, and receiving feedback on their ideas. GE employees stand to build bonds with the top entrepreneurs and make an impact by amplifying entrepreneurial ideas.
GE and Wamda have joined together to grow the network of entrepreneurs across the region working on industrial technologies. The goal is to promote, support, and connect those communities. With the region increasingly focusing on economic diversification and increased energy efficiency, promoting entrepreneurial collaboration in clean technology and advanced analytics will help support a grassroots culture of innovation.
In April, the partners launched a microsite (www.wamda.com/MEmakers) that serves as an online destination to connect and strengthen dialogue on entrepreneurship between aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals. More than 100 start-ups have been profiled from across the region. The partnership also includes joint research projects and community events to support the next era of diversified growth of the region.