Ask An Angel: a bespoke new programme launched by THE NEXT SOCIETY to support entrepreneurs from the MENA region!

Ask An Angel Academy screenshot — 28 October 2020

One size does not fit all: especially in times of crisis, businesses need customized services to navigate uncertainty and adjust to new market demands.

Ask an Angel offers a series of 1:1 meetings between founders and business angels, along with a set of Academies (group meetings) on key business topics.

The first Ask an Angel Academy marks the launch of the mentoring program: on October 28–29 2020, 19 entrepreneurs from the MENA region were invited to the European Angel Investment Summit, hosted annually by EBAN and gathering +250 investors, innovators, policymakers and ecosystem partners. During the event, the class of entrepreneurs worked on their business model and investment strategy through closed-door dedicated sessions, as well as networked with peers, investors, and investment experts over seminars and roundtables.

The programme is a highly customized service aimed at supporting 25 start-ups from 6 countries in the MENA region during these times of uncertainty and challenges post-pandemic. Each entrepreneur receives up to 8 hours of virtual coaching by a business angel in the form of 1:1 sessions, and participates in 5 Academies delivered by top-notch entrepreneurs and relating to key topics for investment readiness: Customer Acquisition; Validation & Prototyping; Financial Planning, Entering new Markets; Pivoting.

By connecting entrepreneurs from the Med area with seasoned international investors, the program represents a great opportunity for founders to validate and accelerate their business, and establish meaningful relationships.

The Ask An Angel programme is led by EBAN — the European Business Angels Network within THE NEXT SOCIETY EU-funded project, and it is backed by ANIMA Investment Network as the coordinator of the initiative.

The Ask An Angel approach

The 25 companies’ founders have been matched to 25 business angels who have relevant experience in their industry, strong track record in building and advising early-stage companies, and knowledgeable about market dynamics within Europe and the MENA region.

Early results from the first round of 1:1 meetings show that companies are on average well aware of their stage of development, key strengths and resources needed, however, they are not yet ready to receive external capital nor to scale. As such, coaching and mentoring activities are of paramount importance to fine-tune the strategy and keep their venture growing.

The entrepreneurs will benefit from 3 one to one meetings where they can validate their product or service, tackle current challenges, and establish long-term partnerships with recognised members of the international community of investors. The mentors will introduce investment-ready companies to relevant players according to their domain of activity or sector targeted.

Despite building relations may prove more difficult in these times, the Ask An Angel programme approach is human-centric and highly focused on creating value for the entrepreneur and its team, thus building a close class of entrepreneurs that can refer to a robust batch of experts as well as to their peers will be a high priority!

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