The Middle East and North Africa Group (The MENA Group) is an initiative operating under the Center for Entrepreneurship and Development in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa at the Haas School of Business. We connect undergraduate and graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley with the most promising startups in the Middle East and North Africa.
While students gain international venture capital and consulting experience by providing data-driven management consultation, the startups benefit from the application of Silicon Valley business models and technical expertise.
The MENA Group offers business consulting and data-driven market analysis to startups in the Middle East and North Africa. We work with each startup over the course of one semester.
Strategy & Management Consulting
Teams of three MBA students are assigned to one startup from our partner incubators. As the MBAs communicate with the CEOs of the startup on a weekly basis, they leverage their expertise to provide advice based on the individual needs of the startup. At the end of every cycle, the best startups pitch to sector-specific venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.
Research & Development
Undergraduate and graduate data scientists compile, aggregate, and anaylze data to understand emerging trends in the MENA startup ecosystem. They develop predictive models and create representations of complex data sets that allow the startups to clearly visualize emerging sector-level trends. At the end of each cycle, the data scientists release an online report outlining their findings with the aim of showcasing the MENA startup landscape.
We are currently partnered with two incubators in Cairo--AUC Venture Lab and Flat6Labs. Both have received recognition as the top incubators in the region from sources including Arab Business Report and Wamda Capital. Our partner incubators connect us with their most promising startups. In the Spring 2018 cycle we are expanding to work with startups in Tehran, Istanbul, and Dubai.
We aim to address the needs of each startup at every level, and we handpick consultant teams with the most appropriate experience and expertise.
AUC Venture Lab is a leading university-based startup accelerator and incubator. Their startups work in industries varying from e-commerce, renewable energy, and education to gaming, arts, and fashion. Startups are selected based on their tenacity for success, team cohesion, and commitment.
Flat6Labs is a regional startup accelerator program that fosters and invests in bright and passionate entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas. They provide seed funding, strategic mentorship, a creative workspace, entrepreneurship-focused business training, and directly support startups through an expansive network of partner entities, mentors, and investors.
The region is characterized by a large tech-savvy youth population, a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, increasing rates of investment activity, and emerging low-competition markets.
The large tech-savvy youth population provides an opportunity for a more innovative approach to the design and delivery of public policies and services, especially in areas such as education, health, and finance. (OCED 2016)
The region's strong entrepreneurial tradition and vibrant startup community has been bolstered by an increase in the tertiary educated population and emergence of Internet based systems. (World Economic Forum 2015)
MENA annual private market investments have increased from $5 Million USD in 2012 to $1.488 billion USD in 2016, led by a fast-moving consumer goods sector. (CB Insights 2017)
The region is characterized by a "missing middle," with Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) accounting for 16% of GDP compared to 51% in high-income countries. (IFC 2013)
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