Earlier this year, we ran our very first Startups Lab in MENA, an initiative by the Google News Initiative (GNI) and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ)

MADRAJ recently successfully concluded the Startups Lab Project implementation in partnership with the International Center For Journalists (ICFJ) under the esteemed Google News Initiative (GNI). This groundbreaking initiative aimed to provide mentorship and training to startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with a focus on empowering them to utilize digital tools for expression and community service. Over the course of six months, MADRAJ collaborated with three regional experts to offer a comprehensive mentorship program to 16 promising startups. Moreover, the program encompassed various aspects of entrepreneurship, including technical training sessions on topics such as digital storytelling, fact-checking, search engine optimization (SEO), cyber security, and much more. These sessions equipped the startups with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively leverage digital platforms and engage with their target audiences. However, MADRAJ's commitment to the startups went beyond technical training. The organization also provided personalized one-on-one sessions to address specific needs in areas such as legal compliance, financial management, and business planning. By offering tailored guidance and support, MADRAJ aimed to enhance the startups' overall sustainability and success. "We are honoured to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such talented startups in the MENA region," said Rawan Jayousi, MADRAJ Executive Director and Founder. The level of progress and outcomes achieved by each startup throughout the program has been truly remarkable. MADRAJ firmly believes that the knowledge gained through this initiative will not only support their viability but also enable them to serve their communities and advocate for freedom of expression using digital tools. The Startups Lab Project has not only provided startups with valuable mentorship but has also fostered a thriving community of entrepreneurs in the MENA region. Through networking events and interactive sessions, MADRAJ facilitated a platform for startups to connect, exchange ideas, and forge potential collaborations, thus fostering a culture of innovation and cooperation. As the program draws to a close, MADRAJ looks forward to witnessing the continued growth and impact of the startups it has worked with. The organization remains committed to supporting these entrepreneurs on their journey and promoting their endeavours in serving their respective communities. The successful implementation of the Startups Lab Project reaffirms MADRAJ's dedication to nurturing a vibrant startup ecosystem in the MENA region. By empowering startups with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support, MADRAJ aims to drive economic growth, foster innovation, and amplify the voices of individuals through digital platforms.