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Two industry giants, Aramex and Mastercard, have joined forces to introduce the innovative ScaleUp platform, aimed at providing comprehensive support to the startup and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) community in the UAE. In collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Economy’s The Entrepreneurial Nation, ScaleUp offers an exciting opportunity for local startups and SMEs to showcase their innovative ideas, with the chance to secure AED250,000 ($68,000) in funding, as well as a host of additional benefits, including valuable marketing exposure and the opportunity to connect with potential investors.

The upcoming ScaleUp networking event scheduled for November 2023 will invite selected participants and finalists to partake in exclusive networking opportunities, further solidifying the initiative’s commitment to fostering a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. As part of their shared dedication to empowering SMEs, Mastercard has set a lofty goal of integrating 50 million SMEs into the digital economy by 2025. In alignment with this objective, the company recently partnered with Women Choice to provide support for women entrepreneurs and create one million jobs for women across the Arab world.

The ScaleUp initiative aligns with the UAE’s ambitious target of nurturing 20 unicorns by 2031, leveraging the vital role that SMEs play in the country’s economic landscape, representing 94% of its operational entities and contributing over 50% to the GDP. Tarek Abu Yaghi, General Manager of Aramex in the UAE, emphasized: “The inaugural edition of ScaleUp is a unique initiative and competition that seeks to transform the future of industries and economies in the region through startup-led innovation. As a startup born out of the region’s entrepreneurial ambitions several decades ago, we fully understand the unique challenges SMEs will likely encounter on their path to success.”

Likewise, Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President at Mastercard, shared, “Joining forces with Aramex was a natural choice for us given our shared goal of promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the growth of startups in the UAE. At Mastercard, we believe that empowering small businesses is key for an economy to survive and thrive.”

Interested participants can engage with the ScaleUp platform by submitting their ideas and entries before the October 25, 2023 deadline through the official event link, where they can register for free and showcase their business potential through a short video submission. The winners will be announced at the ScaleUp 2023 networking event, marking a significant milestone in the journey of these promising entrepreneurs.