North African Startups Narrowly Missed Out on the Organon and Flat6Labs’ Femtech Accelerator Awards
The Femtech Accelerator Program, launched in October 2021 during Expo 2020 by Flat6Labs and Organon, a global healthcare company, aims to support female-founded digital health startups across MENA to address unmet women’s healthcare needs has today announced Greece and Lebanese-based Omgyno, Lebanese-based Siira and UAE’S Maternally as the winners of the MENA region’s first digital-health Femtech Accelerator Program.
The winners were announced after the program’s ten finalists from Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Jordan pitched their ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of prospective investors. The three winning startups will receive a total of $7,500 in prize money.
The pitches were held at the GrEEK Campus during the ‘Demo Day’ event. The final winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included Dina El Shenoufy, Chief Investment Officer at Flat6Labs; Ramy Koussa, Associate Vice President of MENAT at Organon; Dr. Amr Alashkar, Chief Information Officer at Cleopatra Hospital Group; Jailan El Messeiry, Group Digital Marketing & Communications Manager at UN Women; and Frederika Meijer, Country Representative at UNFPA.
The Winning Startups
Omgyno, the winning startup, is a FemTech platform that is redesigning the gynecological experience. After identifying the factors that contribute to gaps in testing for the potentially cancer-causing HPV virus, such as fear of judgment and accessibility, the two entrepreneurs developed a user-centered platform that provides home testing and telehealth services while encouraging self-care and privacy.
While Siira, the runner-up, created a mental health platform to support women in their daily struggles with parenting, relationships, and work. Sandra Salame’s startup is addressing the fact that only 30-35% of people with mental health problems seek professional help.
Globally, one in five women experience mental health issues during pregnancy, and/or the following birth. Seeking to plug this gap, Maternally, which was adjudged third runner-up, is an online platform being developed to cater to women’s specific mental health needs during their motherhood journey.
What Femtech Accelerator Program Organizers are saying
Ramy Koussa, AVP MENAT, Organon explained the impetus for the program “At Organon, we understand that prioritizing women’s health is tied to long-term productivity and resilient societies. That’s why, as part of our ESG Economic, Social and Governance-driven purpose to achieve her promise, we are committed to investing in programs, partnerships, initiatives, and ideas that work to fill that gap. The best ideas for addressing these gaps truly come from the women who experience these challenges first-hand.”
“With vast unmet medical needs, today, women across the MENA region cannot fully participate in the economy on account of a lack of adequate healthcare. Shockingly, the region loses $575 billion yearly due to the lack of female economic participation,” he added.
Dina El Shenoufy, Chief Investment Officer at Flat6Labs, said “At Flat6Labs, we have been delighted to participate in and support this female empowerment initiative. Participating start-ups have received over 65 hours of training sessions led by top local and international advisors, and 27 hours of one-on-one coaching sessions, helping them gain a solid understanding of the FemTech market, connect with key leaders and grow their networks.”
“Our partnership with Organon not only works to redress many of the gender inequities we see in the start-up world, particularly around access to funding but also to support better women’s health. We know that female health and economic empowerment go hand in hand. By investing in the women in our communities and supporting greater gender equity, everyone across our societies benefits,” she added.
About Femtech Accelerator Program
The FemTech accelerator program, announced shortly after Organon’s launch in the MENAT region, is the first regional Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) initiative by Organon that is committed to addressing unmet women’s needs. Inspired by Organon’s purpose to help women and girls achieve their promise through better health, the program was designed to support female entrepreneurship and digital health startups that advance women’s health by providing support to build products, test market fit and improve business models, as well as access to investors.
The Accelerator program is dedicated to growing 10 technology startups with MVP stage solutions positively contributing to solving social problems facing their communities. The program is designed to support entrepreneurs through an intensive part-time curriculum focused on growth and scaling stages.
Once you are selected to join the Femtech Accelerator Program, you may receive funding from Organon or get fast-tracked to receive investment from select Flat6Labs offices across the MENA region, as well as strategic mentorship, entrepreneurship-focused business training, subject matter one-to-one sessions and a multitude of perks and services from partners.