The 10 winning teams that aim to improve mental wellbeing in Abu Dhabi with its services and products have graduated from Ma’an’s second cycle of the Social Incubator.
Mental wellbeing was a key focus identified by Ma’an before the current health and economic challenges presented themselves, aligned with declared government goals of improving all aspects of health and wellbeing for residents and citizens in the Emirate.
The issue was the driving force behind the second cycle of the MSI programme, marked as an important priority that needed innovative solutions to provide support to the community in Abu Dhabi.
During a virtual ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 90-day training programme, the start-ups showcased the evolution and growth of their original concepts throughout the 3 months in addressing these health challenges and contributing to community wellbeing, while gaining vital entrepreneurial skills and knowledge for developing their original ideas into strong business ventures that would help people across Abu Dhabi.
The virtual ceremony was attended by Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of Department of Community Development and Eng Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, Undersecretary of the Department of Community Development and Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an.
As part of the ceremony, personal video messages were delivered congratulating the teams for their determination to become successful social entrepreneurs with a view to making a positive impact on people’s lives.
Equipped with the necessary attributes and business qualities, the teams will now aim to roll out their services and products in Abu Dhabi and boost the mental wellbeing of residents.
With financial support of up to AED200,000 ($54,451) each from Ma’an, the 10 teams - Shala Online, Mental Health AE, Nafas, HIMMA, Hold My Umbrella, The Family Friend, The Hamda and Hamad Comics, Peer-Minded, Guiding Stars and Bessernlife, underwent extensive training. This included receiving regular practical advice, encouragement and support from a mentor and business expertise to ensure their projects are sustainable and can benefit people’s lives.
Through workshops, the teams also learned about building their prototypes, business models as well as the importance of operating a sustainable business. The social entrepreneurs were also given opportunities to network and build relationships with potential investors, third-sector leaders and regional and global industry figures.
The 10 teams were selected by Ma’an due to their innovative and original ideas. They were among over 260 entries with Ma’an receiving applications from the UAE as well as overseas including Russia, India, Estonia, Greece, Sudan, Jordan, Nigeria. UK, Canada, Oman, USA, Belarus, Germany, Morocco, KSA, Italy and Singapore.
Among the business ventures that will support Abu Dhabi’s residents include a mobile app that offers high quality mindfulness therapy content for Arabic speakers at affordable rates, and a technology platform that provides training and valuable toolkits for caregivers of people affected by mental illness.
Children will also benefit with special comics series authored primarily by children to allow parents to relate to their experiences regarding mental health issues based on youth discussions as well as a simplified package developed by social workers that will assist family members of an affected person and follow up with treatment plans upon discharge.
Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, added: “Today is a milestone moment for the 10 teams as they embark on the next stage of their life and put their skills and knowledge that they have gained during the Ma’an Social Incubator programme into daily practice.
“Every member of each team should be proud of their efforts in completing their training and I am convinced their solutions will make a big difference to those in the community affected by mental wellbeing issues. As well as being dedicated, creative, open-minded and learned to work as a team, they developed strong business acumen.
“By sharing the same vision as Ma’an to solve pressing social challenges and understanding the importance of why it’s essential to address mental wellbeing, the 10 teams can all make a lasting impression and play an integral role in the development of Abu Dhabi as a city.”
The 10 teams’ products and services are:
*Shala Online: An on-demand streaming platform that tackles physical and mental wellbeing matters by delivering online high quality yoga and meditation classes in both Arabic and English;
*Mental Health AE: Shared platform that provides access to services, information and resources to raising awareness around mental health issues and aiming to end the stigma targeting university students as well as hosting weekly support group sessions;
*Nafas: An innovative mobile app that offers a range of mindfulness modules for Arabic speakers seeking to enhance their mental wellbeing and attaining a peaceful state of being by managing stress and anxiety which can be accessed and completed at the user’s discretion at affordable costs;
*HIMMA: A service aimed at young girls between 13 to 17-year-olds to improve their self-esteem, build resilience and develop stamina through education workshops to face future challenges in life through educational workshops and development of key relationships;
*Hold My Umbrella: Technology platform that tackles arising issues for caregivers of mental health patients by providing them access to training and toolkits to demystify common mental disorders and give them daily guidance by connecting them to an array of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists;
*The Family Friend: A simplified package of services and guidelines developed by social workers to help empower immediate family members of a person affected by mental health disorder to follow up with treatment plans upon being discharged and in between visits to prevent patient relapse;
*The Hamda and Hamad Comics: A series of children’s comic books told from the perspectives of children and youth aged 7-16 gathered through multiple workshops to surface their needs and concerns aiming at raising awareness of mental health;
*Peer-Minded: A peer support network that is a youth-led initiative and uses a peer-to-peer support framework to equip and empower young students to talk with other struggling students about their mental health aimed at creating a preventative culture as well as destigmatising such issues and normalising them;
*Guiding Stars: A gamified online solution aimed for new parents to improve their mental wellbeing to tackle issues arising from postpartum depression and the overall overwhelming and exhaustion resulting from being a new parent as well as creating supportive networks; and
*Bessernlife: An online platform with monthly subscription model offered for corporate staff that combines learning with personalised support from a wellbeing coach to tackle the rising and widespread problem of burnout at affordable prices. -- Tradearabia News Service