The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), has announced the winners of the Access Sharjah Challenge (ASC) 2023, a global challenge endorsed by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment that recognises innovative startups that have the answers to many of today’s most pressing challenges, and was themed after the UAE’s Year of Sustainability initiative.
The winner of the “Transforming Waste Management’’ vertical of ASC, is Spain’s Candam Technologies. The venture was selected by BEEAH Group for its groundbreaking solution that aids waste management through affordable tech-driven Return and Earn initiatives that offer efficient identification and sorting of various packaging materials, and contribute to a circular economy.
The “Achieving Net Zero” winner is a homegrown startup called Green Future Project, which has been chosen by the Sharjah Sustainable City for its exceptional work in delivering a comprehensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for ESG reporting and sustainable practices, enabling businesses to monitor, reduce, and offset their carbon footprint in real-time.
The backdrop for the awarding ceremony was the Sheraa Sustainability Forum, which brought together diverse stakeholders including government entities, corporates, startups and investors to showcase their efforts in promoting sustainability and driving positive change in the nation, as well as to foster dialogue and encourage knowledge sharing and best practices to accelerate sustainable development.
The winning startups have landed exclusive high-value commercial deals worth Dhs 250,000 each and will receive Sheraa’s end-to-end business setup support to launch their ventures successfully in Sharjah’s vibrant, innovation driven ecosystem. They will also benefit from the leading business incentives that founders in Sharjah are offered, alongside enjoying the unique privilege of participating in the UAE’s Year of Sustainability initiatives leading up to the 28th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28).
The two winners of the challenge were selected from a significant volume of submissions by contestants from 22 nations worldwide. The jury picked the two winners from amongst an impressive pool of 10 shortlisted startups from 8 countries, including Germany, Spain, US, Hungary, Poland, the Isle of Man, India, and UAE.
Directly addressing not just the challenge winners, but all the young disruptors and passionate changemakers at the forum, Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, and an icon of inspiration for young achievers in region, noted that in each winning project as well as all the submitted entries, she saw incredible and scalable solutions that carry the potential to practically achieve the world’s sustainability vision.
She further remarked: “The success of each project holds great significance as it emphasises the importance of transforming societal concepts and practices towards sustainability, surpassing mere economic feasibility and prioritising the larger impact. These winners have the potential to reshape industries and pave the way for a greener future and we are extremely proud to have given them a platform to do so.”
Mohammed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, said that the ministry is working on mobilising climate action efforts in cooperation with various partners within the UAE to fulfil the country’s obligations and achieve its climate and environmental goals, supporting efforts aimed at promoting sustainable practices in multiple sectors.
Mohammed Al Nuaimi said: “The UAE is looking forward to hosting the Conference of the Parties (COP28) this year and aims to bring together world leaders and all relevant entities to make a tangible impact on global climate action and preserve our planet. Following the vision and directives of the wise leadership, we are working to enhance sustainable practices across various economic sectors to generate new opportunities through national climate action and to build a global model for collaborative climate action.”
Al Nuaimi added: “The Sheraa Sustainability Forum provides a real opportunity to shed light on sustainability efforts and initiatives. We, for our part, applaud the major role that Sheraa plays in enhancing the entrepreneurship sector based on ambitious economic principles through the consolidation of the approaches of innovation and sustainability. This approach drives us towards a sustainable future.”
Dr. Eng. Khalifa Musabah Al Tunaiji, Chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, was equally proud of the solutions the winning startups provided, underscoring that Sharjah’s agenda has prioritised sustainability and food security through its inclusive agricultural and livestock projects that harness modern technology and creative ideas which in turn contribute to supporting and developing agritech as an essential asset to sustainable development.