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Aldar picks winners for the Manassah Entrepreneurship Programme

Aldar's headquarters in Abu Dhabi

Real estate developer Aldar Properties has revealed the winners of its first Manassah programme – an entrepreneurship competition aimed at nurturing home-grown talent and supporting the UAE’s retail and F&B entrepreneurs.

Following a rigorous process of assessing 150 submissions, seven finalists were short-listed to develop their ventures and receive pitch training. The programme’s selection committee selected three winners to bring their concepts to life at Aldar’s Mamsha Al Saadiyat:

Coffee Architecture: a speciality coffee house built by the first female Emirati certified Q grader. Coffee Architecture is designed around minimalism, passion, art, and love in Abu Dhabi.

Alkalime: a feel-good café concept offering customers healthy, nutritious, and tasty food and drinks in a relaxing and eco-friendly space.

Wake n’ Bake: a home-grown bakery by a female Emirati chef that specialises in hand-crafted breads, custard doughnuts and other baked goods freshly made by hand.

All three winners have secured equity-free incentives worth up to Dhs1 million and have signed on to establish their businesses with a turnover rent deal for one year at Aldar’s Mamsha Al Saadiyat, adjacent to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Island’s pristine beach front.

Commenting on the competition, Saoud Khoory, Executive Director, Retail Management, Aldar Properties, said: “Manassah aims to identify and foster homegrown talent and to cultivate a community of entrepreneurs that can redefine Abu Dhabi’s retail landscape and meet evolving customer needs.

“The success of the first cycle of the programme is testament to the incredible potential ready to be harnessed in Abu Dhabi. The three winners have demonstrated an abundance of entrepreneurial spirit, innovative thinking, and determination. We are excited to be welcoming our new tenants at Mamsha Al Saadiyat and look forward to watching their concepts materialise into full-fledged, home-grown businesses.”

Marking the occasion of being the first winner to set up her new business on Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Coffee Architecture’s Nooran Al Bannay said: “Aldar’s Manassah offered me an incredible opportunity to refine my entrepreneurial skills and transform my idea to a reality. I am honoured to have been chosen as one of the winners and can’t wait to introduce Coffee Architecture to the Abu Dhabi community.”

Launched in November 2019, the Manassah competition supports young entrepreneurs to develop innovative businesses across three categories – retail, café, and restaurants.

This is Aldar’s first retail start-up programme in partnership with startAD, the global accelerator based in NYU Abu Dhabi.

StartAD and Aldar support participants in the curated incubation programme for retail by providing them with the necessary tools to launch, develop, and scale their ventures. As part of the programme, selected teams receive training and mentorship from the best local and global entrepreneurship, retail, and tech experts.

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