Real estate developer Aldar Properties has announced the winners of its first Manassah program – an entrepreneurship competition aimed at nurturing local talent and helping the UAE’s retail and F&B entrepreneurs.
After a rigorous process of evaluating 150 submissions, seven finalists were shortlisted to develop their ventures and receive pitch training. The program’s selection committee selected three winners to bring their concepts to life in Aldar’s Mamsha Al Saadiyat:
Coffee architecture: A specialty coffee house built by the first Emirati-certified Q-grader. The coffee architecture is based on minimalism, passion, art and love in Abu Dhabi.
Alkalim: A feel-good café concept that offers customers healthy, nutritious and tasty food and drinks in a relaxing and environmentally friendly space.
Wake n ‘beacon: An emirate cook’s local bakery specializing in handcrafted bread, custard donuts, and other freshly handcrafted baked goods.
All three winners have secured equity-free incentives worth up to Dhs 1 million and committed to starting their business with a one-year sales lease in Aldars Mamsha Al Saadiyat, next to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the pristine beach of Saadiyat Island.
Saoud Khoory, Executive Director Retail Management at Aldar Properties, commented on the competition: “Manassah aims to identify and nurture local talent and foster a community of entrepreneurs who are redefining and changing the Abu Dhabi retail landscape Can meet customer needs.
“The success of the first cycle of the program is proof of the incredible potential that can be used in Abu Dhabi. The three winners have shown an abundance of entrepreneurship, innovative thinking and determination. We are excited to welcome our new tenants to Mamsha Al Saadiyat and look forward to seeing their concepts become full-fledged, local businesses. “
Coffee Architecture’s Nooran Al Bannay was the first winner to start her new business in Mamsha Al Saadiyat: “Aldars Manassah was an incredible opportunity for me to hone my entrepreneurial skills and turn my idea into reality. I am honored to be selected as one of the winners and I can’t wait to introduce Coffee Architecture to the Abu Dhabi community. “
The Manassah Competition, launched in November 2019, supports young entrepreneurs in developing innovative businesses in three categories: retail, café and restaurants.
This is Aldar’s first retail start-up program in partnership with startAD, the global accelerator based in NYU Abu Dhabi.
StartAD and Aldar are helping participants in the curated retail incubation program by providing them with the tools they need to start, develop, and scale their ventures. As part of the program, select teams receive training and mentoring from the best local and global experts in entrepreneurship, retail and technology.