Fundraising is crucial for startups, but entrepreneurs also need knowledge and experience to realize success. That's why Shekra, a crowdfunding platform based in Cairo, signed a cooperation deal with Injaz Al-Arab, an Amman-based NGO that trains youth in entrepreneurship skills. This initiative will support startups by providing training, mentorship, legal advice, as well as funding.
Entrepreneurs in the Middle East region have an ongoing need for funding, training and vocational education. Most startups in the region struggle with finding essential funding to transform their creative ideas into successful businesses. Mentorship and training is also crucial for young entrepreneurs to help them guide their startups into the right direction.
The relative scarcity of venture capital firms in the Middle East has led to an increase in crowdfunding platforms in the region- today, Shekra, Zoomaal, Yomken and Eureeca are enabling entrepreneurs to obtain needed funding from the public, or from closed groups of private investors, who might be interested in their creative ideas. Although some might be skeptical of the crowdinvestment model debuted by Eureeca, some startups are making it work; skill-sharing community Nabbesh, for one, recently raised US $100,000 on the platform.
Though important, successful funding campaigns are not the single most important factor a startup needs to succeed. Education, mentorship and training are all vital factors helping entrepreneurs to make the best use of the money they've got. The recent cooperation between Shekra and Injaz Al-Arab is designed to do exactly that, offering entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa region new funding opportunities, while providing them with valuable training, mentorship and networking opportunities with influential investors.
"Entrepreneurs in the region have got some great ideas and business plans, but they lack enough funding to boot start their companies. The crowds now have the ability to turn those ideas into successful businesses through the click of a button", says Nicolas Neibauer, regional business development manager at Injaz Al-Arab. "Many companies have already found their way to success through crowdfunding campaigns," he adds.
It's still a bit early to tell if this initiative, combining crowdfunding with training and mentorship, will have such a powerful impact on entrepreneurship in the region. However, I still personally believe that such initiative is vital to turn a successful crowdfunding campaign into a successful business.