By virtue of the agreement, Oasis500 and Microsoft will jointly create the MakeIT program, helping start-ups obtain in-depth technical advice and assistance to further facilitate their entrepreneurial journey. The program will pair technical and business mentors from Microsoft and Microsoft partners with Oasis500 entrepreneurs to help them establish their businesses with the support of the best IT products and solutions available.
MakeIT program officers will be appointed to coordinate and connect enlisted mentors with applying entrepreneurs according to availability and areas of expertise, allowing Oasis500 to ensure a successful mentorship period. Matched with one or two start-ups, each mentor will receive monthly status reports from MakeIT’s program officers in order to monitor participating entrepreneurs’
Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Fayyad stated, “This strategic partnership underscores Oasis500’s goal to engage key international ICT players in supporting the ecosystem we provide to entrepreneurs. The program will enable entrepreneurs to obtain fundamental technical consultation, advice and technology from Microsoft’s technical team and partners globally, allowing these companies to develop products that can compete in international markets. We are very pleased to have Microsoft on board and hope that this partnership will mark the first of many in the future.”
In turn, Fakhoury commented, “Entrepreneurs from across the MENA are the creative minds and driving force behind some of the region’s strongest innovations, and are a powerful engine for growth. It is a privilege for our experienced Microsoft teams and partners to help young businesses get started and move in the right direction through mentorship and guidance. By sharing technical expertise and advice with MENA entrepreneurs, we will ensure that the next generation of businesses will actively contribute to and significantly accelerate economic growth in our region.”
During the MENA ICT Forum, Dr. Fayyad also announced that in the first week after unveiling its new business investment track, Oasis500 received 30 applications for the track’s first wave which is slated for April, 2013.Held in partnership with major Venture Capital and investment firms including Badia Impact Fund of Accelerator Technology Holdings (ATH), WAMDA and MENA Ventures, the new business investment track targets established companies that have been operating in the market for over 1-2 years and hope to further accelerate and grow their businesses locally, regionally and internationally, as well as receive follow-on and Series A investments from Oasis500.
Oasis500 is the first development and investment company of its kind in the MENA region. It aims to support entrepreneurs by providing them with funding and training in an effort to accelerate the transformation of business ideas into start-up companies in the ICT, digital media, and mobile technologies and content sectors. Oasis500 aims to facilitate the launch of 500 start-up companies within the next five years, which will create an incentive for aspiring entrepreneurs and generate job opportunities within the world’s fastest growing sectors. Since commencing its operations in September 2010, Oasis500 has successfully secured investments for 55 technology companies, in addition to a number of other investments that were unmatched by any investment fund in the region.