The Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an is providing aspiring social entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to join its latest Ma’an Social Incubator (MSI). The fifth cycle of the MSI programme is dedicated to supporting social businesses that directly benefit and enhance the lives of senior citizens and residents.
The programme has launched to coincide with World Senior Citizens Day, which is annually celebrated on 21 August in a worldwide bid to increase awareness of the factors and issues that affect older adults, such as health deterioration and social exclusion, among others.
The Ma’an Social Incubator is one of Ma’an’s five key pillars and is part of its on-going efforts to grow Abu Dhabi’s third sector by supporting not-for-profits and social enterprises and contribute to the development of strong, active and connected communities.
The Social Incubator supports Abu Dhabi’s vision to drive innovation in the social sector by fostering creative and sustainable solutions to address existing social challenges. By supporting and investing in social enterprises, the programme also creates job and volunteering opportunities, which aim to drive social inclusion while contributing to the expansion of Abu Dhabi’s social services ecosystem.
Launched today, the fifth cohort theme of the MSI programme is focused on seniors with participants working on developing existing services or products that will enhance their quality of life across the Emirate. Applications are now being accepted for this social innovation programme.
Senior citizens and residents have been identified as a key demographic by the Department of Community Development (DCD) – Abu Dhabi and their crucial input throughout different stages of the programme will be vital in addressing some of the biggest challenges the senior generation currently face.
The MSI aims to address these challenges, providing an opportunity for seniors and social entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and come up with solutions that will help improve the existing services that are currently available to senior citizens and residents.
The solutions selected for the programme will support seniors to play a more active role in society by taking part in different activities and building relationships with different members of the wider community. By ensuring their increased integration into society, seniors will have an improved chance of feeling valued and appreciated by the community they live in, and ultimately improving their mental and financial wellbeing.
Ten teams, whose initial solutions meet the selected criteria, will be shortlisted by Ma’an and will undergo a 90-day training programme to build these existing services into sustainable business ventures. Ma’an will support the ten successful teams with access to mentorship, office space, business expertise, funding and investors.
His Excellency, Engineer Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, Undersecretary of the Department of Community Development, said: “The Department of Community Development continues to work with Ma'an on its series of cohorts within the Ma’an Social Incubator framework. This latest cohort represents an opportunity to create social impact and support senior citizens and residents, by finding innovative social solutions that enhance their quality of life, as well as providing a decent life for all members of society”.
“Since the first cohort launched in 2019, the MSI programme has achieved great results, and has been successful in finding solutions to various pressing social challenges in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. These innovative solutions have, to date, empowered people of determination, improved the mental health of many members of our community, and enhanced family cohesion in Abu Dhabi. Our previous cycle focused on environmental protection. In this cohort, we look forward to finding sustainable and innovative solutions that benefit senior citizens and residents, and society as a whole”.
His Excellency stressed that the development of society is a shared responsibility, and the Department of Community Development’s primary role is to facilitate, organise and coordinate the contribution of individuals, government institutions, NGOs and private companies to achieve their goals. These actions help to create a happy and active life for senior citizens and residents.
Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, added: “As our first ever programme, the Ma’an Social Incubator has gone from strength to strength in every cycle with this journey benefitting more than 15,000 beneficiaries since 2019. The creative solutions have all made a big difference for People of Determination, mental wellbeing, family cohesion and the environment and it will be no different for this latest cohort which is focused on senior citizens and residents.
“It’s imperative we support seniors – they are the generation who helped build and contribute to the development of this wonderful city and we truly appreciate how hard they have worked throughout their lives to create a better future for all. It is the responsibility of the younger generation to give them the valued support that they need and through the MSI, the solutions will help them feel more active, empowered and appreciated – all of which helps contribute to an inclusive and connected society.
“Both seniors and young social entrepreneurs have an integral role to play in this important cohort. They both have the knowledge and different experiences and by working hand-in-hand and exchanging valuable advice and tips, together they can help drive change and shape the future of Abu Dhabi.
“We are looking for talented, creative and enthusiastic social entrepreneurs from different walks of life to make a meaningful difference to seniors for years to come. We look forward to receiving as many applications as possible.”
Those interested can apply by visiting https://maan.gov.ae/our-pillars/ideation-acceleration/incubator/