Emerging Innovation Regions

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Emerging Innovation Regions: Part 1

This research has identified government initiatives that are promoting the startup ecosystem in Jerusalem, Riyadh, Doha, Cape Town, and Haifa. Our research reveals that government support has played a crucial role in the emergence of these cities as innovation hubs. Details about these programs have been provided below.


1. Jnext
  • Jnext is an initiative that was "established as a joint-partnership between The Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage and The Jerusalem Municipality, and is led by The Jerusalem Development Authority."
  • The governmental initiative aims to develop and support the innovation ecosystem in Jerusalem. Jnext offers direct assistance to startup companies. It also fosters the entrepreneurial environment, thereby transforming Jerusalem into a city that is startup-friendly.
  • Contact Details: Oded Barel Sabag and Dr. Shay Fleishon are listed as the contact persons for the Jnext program. Oded Barel Sabag, who is an executive director of the Jnext initiative, can be contacted via odedb@jda.gov.il; Dr. Shay Fleishon, who is an executive director of BioJerusalem, can be reached via shay@biojerusalem.org.il.
2. Smart Agriculture Workshop


1. Monshaat
  • Headquartered in Riyadh, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monshaat) was established in 2016. Monshaat's objective is to support, develop, and nurture the SME sector.
  • Across the Kingdom, Monshaat supports innovation, facilitates business processes, enables growth, develops capacity, and creates suitable employment opportunities. In a bid to support SMEs and entrepreneurs, Monshaat launched a startup forum in Jeddah, as well as other events in Riyadh, Asir, Qassim, and Jeddah.
  • Contact Details: Monshaat can be contacted via +966 9200-18888, info@smea.gov.sa, and o.monshaat.gov.sa. While direct contact details are not available publicly, the profile of all members of Monshaat's management team is available here.
2. Misk 500 Accelerator Program
  • The Misk 500 Accelerator Program was established through a partnership between Misk Innovation and 500 Startups. Misk Innovation is a branch of Misk Foundation — a non-profit founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The program aims to encourage entrepreneurship throughout the Kingdom.
  • The first batch of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program held "in Riyadh saw 19 startups from across the MENA region pitch their ideas to an audience of more than 200 that included investors and corporations." Its second edition held in Riyadh in September 2019.
  • Contact Details: Osama AlRaee is the director of entrepreneurship at Misk Innovation, however, all inquiries and questions regarding the Misk 500 program are to be sent via menaaccelerator@500.co.


1. Qatar Smart Program (TASMU)
2. Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP)

Cape Town

1. The Red Tape Reduction Unit
  • Red tape reduction in the Western Cape has "created an ecosystem in which some of the world's largest tech companies have chosen to invest". The initiative has also created "opportunities for exciting young start-ups."
  • Contact Details: While direct contact information for persons in charge of this program is not available, the Red Tape team can be reached by filling out this contact form. They can also be reached via 0861888126 and redtape@westerncape.gov.za. Additional contact details can be found here.
  • JUMP is an initiative created by the Western Cape Government in collaboration with Google and other stakeholders. The digital business support platform was established "to enable entrepreneurs to better their business and access opportunities."
  • While no information regarding the specific team responsible for the JUMP program, the Western Cape Government has provided this contact form for any inquiries and assistance.


1. ‘New Campus’ Vision
  • Israel’s ‘New Campus’ vision is the flagship program of the Council for Higher Education (CHE). It is a six-year plan aimed at creating "the modern 21st-century campus, which encourages digital learning, a more diverse student body, openness and entrepreneurship, and greater internationalization."
  • The Council for Higher Education, through its 'New Campus' program, set up a competition that awarded Technion with $2.7 million to set up an entrepreneurship hub on its campus in Haifa.
  • Prof. Peretz Lavie, the university's president, said the creation of the Technion Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, t-hub, "will take the entrepreneurial culture on campus to new heights."
  • Contact Details: The New Campus program was launched by Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, who is the head of Israel’s Council for Higher Education’s planning and budget committee. While direct contact information for Zilbershats or any other member of her team is not available publicly, The CHE can be contacted via +972 2 567 99 11 and riki@che.org.il.
2. Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) Grants
  • The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) is responsible for Israel's innovation policy. It "is an independent and impartial public entity that operates for the benefit of the Israeli innovation ecosystem and Israeli economy as a whole."
  • Recently, the IIA revealed that the ILAB Group had emerged as the winner of its competitive tender aimed at developing technological innovation in Haifa. To strengthen Haifa's entrepreneurial community, the ILAB group will create acceleration programs and dedicated workspaces to support 150 start-ups.
  • For international collaborations, the IIA can be reached via Ms Racheli Ben On (RacheliBo@innovationisrael.org.il, +972-3-5118117) and Ms Ella Heller (Ella.Heller@innovationisrael.org.il, +972-3-5118143).
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Emerging Innovation Regions: Part 2

Initiatives promoting the startup ecosystem in Cairo include the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and Fekretak Sherketak. Sharjah's startups benefit from the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center and the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park. Below, you can find the initiatives for all five assigned cities.


  • Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) is a government-funded incubator for information and communication technology (ICT) startups. It is located in Cairo Smart Village and it provides companies with up to EGP 120,000 in funding.
  • The center's chairman, Hossam Osman, can be contacted at hosman@itida.gov.eg or hossameosman@yahoo.com (according to RocketReach). His LinkedIn profile is available here.
  • The contact to Lamiaa El Rashidy, who manages the incubation department and is one of the project's leaders, is lrashidy@tiec.gov.eg.
  • Fekretak Sherketak is a Cairo-based program by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. It assists entrepreneurs in building their own startups by providing legal and business mentorship, packages of workshops and trainings, funding, and a co-working space.
  • The program's manager is Islam Mohamed. His LinkedIn profile can be accessed here. According to RocketReach, his email addresses include 3rishonline@gmail.com (personal) and islam.elbary@miic.gov.eg (work).

Kuwait City

  • The sources that talk about government support for the startup ecosystem in Kuwait City mostly focus on the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development.
  • Those startups that fit the criteria receive up to 80% financing.
  • Saad Al-Barrak is the fund's vice-chairman. His LinkedIn profile can be accessed here. According to RocketReach, his personal email address is albarrak.saad@gmail.com, and his work email address is saad.albarrak@nationalfund.gov.kw.
  • Kuwait Small Projects Development Company is a government organization that works closely with the fund on assisting small companies in developing their ideas.
  • The organization's current chairman is Shelash Alhajraf. His LinkedIn profile can be accessed here.
  • Earlier this year, the governments of Kuwait and Qatar launched a joined tech fund to support tech talent from their regions.


  • Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) is a startup incubator launched by the city's Investment and Development Authority and the American University of Sharjah, which includes many ministers of state on its board of directors.
  • Najla al Midfa is the center's CEO. Her LinkedIn profile can be accessed here. According to RocketReach, it is likely that her email addresses are n.almidfa@sheraa.ae (professional) and najla.almidfa@gmail.com (private).
  • The Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park was established by the national government to assist local startups, SMEs, and anchor companies in developing innovations in six key areas: water technology, renewable energy, environmental technology, digitization, Industrial Design 4.0, and Mobility & Smart Cities.
  • Its work is supposed to be a constant collaboration between the government, academia, and the private sector.
  • Its CEO is Hussain Al Mahmoudi. His LinkedIn profile is available here. According to RocketReach, his professional email is h.almahmoudi@sharjah.gov.ae and his personal one — auds_03@hotmail.com.


  • According to articles about Kiev's startup ecosystem, the Ukrainian Startup Fund (USF) is the main financial help for local startups.
  • The USF is a state-owned initiative that provides financial support in the range of $25,000-$75,000, along with mentorship and training. It focuses on startups and entrepreneurs from Ukraine with a potential global reach.
  • The fund's director is Pavlo Kartashov. His LinkedIn profile can be accessed here.
  • His likely email address is kartashov@seia.gov.ua.
  • Another institution in central office in Kiev is the State Finance Institution for Innovations (SFII). One of its programs is coordinating the country's angel investment network to promote the most innovative startups. It also supports a startup competition and plans to develop an incubator and multiple other tools for new businesses.
  • Volodymyr Stavniuk is the head of the project. His LinkedIn profile can be accessed here, while his Facebook profile is available here.
  • The general email address for the Kiev office is office@sfii.gov.ua.


  • One of the major government initiatives in Johannesburg was establishing the Riversands Incubation Hub in the area. It was created by the National's Treasury Jobs Fund, in collaboration with Century Property Developments.
  • The incubation period for the most promising startups is up to three years, including strategic, marketing, and operational support.
  • The hub's CEO is Jenny Retief. Her LinkedIn profile can be accessed here. According to RocketReach, her likely email address is jennyr@riversandsihub.co.za.
  • According to the report about the South African startup ecosystem, its main hub is the Pretoria and Johannesburg area. The major source of government support is the Department of Small Business Development (located in Pretoria).
  • Local startups can be assisted through two subdepartments: Small Enterprise Development Agency (non-financially) and Small Enterprise Finance Agency (financially).
  • For example, the Small Enterprise Development Agency "helps fund a network of business incubators and provides grants to small businesses that help cover the cost of acquiring new technology" through The SEDA Technology Programme.
  • The minister of the department is Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Her LinkedIn profile can be accessed here.
  • According to RocketReach, her likely email addresses are khumbudzo@gmail.com (personal) and khumbudzo@governmentadministratorsassociation.com (business).
  • Also, the executive manager of the SEDA Technology Programme is Nosipho Khonkwane. She can be contacted at (012) 441 1013 or hmthombeni@seda.org.za.

Research Strategy

We provided two initiatives for each of the assigned cities, along with the contact details of the people responsible. While LinkedIn profiles were readily available in nearly all the cases, we could only acquire most of the email addresses through email hunters such as Hunter.io or RocketReach. Since RocketReach requires logging in to view the contacts, we attached screenshots of our findings. In some cases, only social media profiles were available, even after analyzing results from different email hunting tools, as well as company websites, government materials, and media articles. In those instances, we only included links to LinkedIn profiles, through which those people can be reached.

Please also note that in one case, the person responsible for the program couldn't be identified. Press sources and the official website mentioned a person who stated on their LinkedIn profile that they are no longer working for the organization. Therefore, we chose the next person with the highest rank.

Also, while some of the initiatives we chose are nationwide, we made sure that they influence the startup ecosystem in the assigned city specifically, mainly by analyzing articles and reports about startup scenes in the assigned areas.

From Part 01
From Part 02