Welcome to the HerMeNow 2023 Program’s FAQs⚡️

The 2023 HerMeNow Accelerator is a short program that will bring training support to up to 30 women-led green social enterprises in MENA & Africa in the Bootcamp phase and technical, financial, and mentorship support to 10 women-led green social enterprises in the accelerator phase. 

The HerMeNow Accelerator is funded by StardustConcept ESG & Impact division, an initiative of Natacha Fazal Karim, a woman entrepreneur who believes in women empowerment through social entrepreneurship. Social enterprises seek to generate profits while maximizing societal and environmental benefits. They aim to create social and environmental impact by supporting women-led social enterprises globally.

  1. Public Launch and Applications Open on Tuesday, June 15
  2. Open house starts on Thursday, July 20
  3. The application deadline is Monday, August 7
  4. Enterprises are notified of selection into the Bootcamp by Monday, August 14
  5. Bootcamp starts on Monday, September 11
  6. Bootcamp Demo day is on Tuesday, November 21
  7. Enterprises are notified of selection into Accelerator by Tuesday, November 28
  8. Accelerator starts on Monday, December 4
  9. Demo day is on/around mid March
  • The 30 shortlisted teams for the bootcamp phase will get:
    • Training, mentorship, and other support during the bootcamp phase
    • Lifetime access to Bloom’s resources and HerMeNow’s network of entrepreneurs, including mentors, investors, alumni, and staff

    In addition, the 10 shortlisted teams for the accelerator phase will get:

    • A 2,000$ grant (fresh funds) to support the enterprise’s needs and potential impact
    • Training, mentorship, and other support during the three-month accelerator phase
    • Demo day exposure and other investor connections

We provide the seed funding to get you going, but you may need more funding to continue your enterprise efforts. Near the end of the three-month program, we’ll organize a Demo Day to help connect you with investors, funders, and organizations that could help you in the following stages of your enterprise journey. We’ll coach you so you’re as effective as possible and do everything we can to help get you follow-on support and funding.

The primary language in verbal and written communications during accelerator activities is English. However, we can also offer support and mentorship in Arabic or French. We may adapt those during the program to respond to the needs of enterprises. 

It’s your enterprise, so you’ll be hard at work on your business, the product, marketing, HR, etc. We’ll have between one and three weekly sessions, from formal workshops to informal discussions with our mentors, trainers, and guests. Some of those are “required,” but many are optional, and we expect enterprises to adapt and join the critical sessions for issues they’re dealing with in their enterprise. We’ll also regularly have required check-ins with each enterprise, usually every month. 

In general, though, you’ll be working on your enterprise each day, just like all of the other founders in the program. We don’t tell you what to do or when, but we create an environment conducive to helping your enterprise daily. And we’ll ensure you have many experienced mentors around to help you.

We are looking for women-led green social enterprises that can positively impact multiple sectors. All are welcome to apply as long as their mission and objectives align with working toward the SDGs’ achievement. We are looking for early-stage enterprises operating for at least three years and generating revenues.

We will use the following criteria to assess eligible applications. These are not all requirements, but preferences and enterprises will be weighed on the different elements:

  1. Impact: What difference your idea will make, and for whom, how many jobs you will create, what sort of marginalized communities you will impact, and whether  you align with the priority impact areas: culture, mindset, and education.
  2. Capacity: What skills, knowledge, and resources do you have to develop and deliver your idea.
  3. Feasibility: Whether you can realistically deliver your idea by the end of the program and within budget.
  4. Sustainability: Whether your idea has the potential to become financially sustainable and last beyond the lifetime of the funding we provide.
  5. Stage of Enterprise and Product: Whether the enterprise is already generating revenue and the stage of development of the specific product or branch that this program will support.
  6. Inclusion and user testing: Whether the voices of your target clients have been included in the prototype/solution design, and whether your client base is inclusive of different demographics, backgrounds, sexes, etc.
  7. Innovation and growth potential: Whether your idea is new and different, and where or how it can potentially grow.

Your enterprise is eligible if it meets the following criteria:

  • Your enterprise is based in one of the eligible countries
    • MENA: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen
    • Sub-Saharan East Africa: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania
  • Your enterprise is solving a green challenge
    • The core business model addresses an environmental issue – Alignment with SDGs
    • Tracking of green impact KPIs along with financial impact
    • Reinvesting at least half of revenues into green initiatives
  • You have the potential to sustain your enterprise without the program’s long-term support.
  • You have more than one person in the team, with at least two members working full-time in the enterprise.
  • No restrictions on sociographic or other parameters regarding the applicants.
  • Female-led enterprises and enterprises with higher diversity (age, sex, socio-economic background, refugee/host communities, location around MENA and Africa, etc.) are particularly encouraged to apply. 

We are unable to support:

  • Enterprises of only one individual. 
  • Enterprises that are engaged with other entrepreneurship/innovation programs/accelerators, unless there is a clear distinction between the program offerings, and enterprises can demonstrate that they have time and capacity to join this program in addition to their other program commitments.

Imagine a spectrum of entrepreneurship running from learning about the concept and skills to having a mature enterprise changing the world. Those stages are categorized as follows. For the sake of this challenge, we will focus on supporting enterprises as indicated in blue below:

Enterprise Development Stages

    1. Learning without the goal of launching an enterprise
    1. Want to start and looking for/testing ideas
    1. Exploring ideas, conducting market/customer research
    2. Have started developing my idea
    1. Have an early (low-fidelity/paper) prototype (of product or service)
    2. Have a functioning (high-fidelity) prototype with early users / early adopters
    1. Declining revenues and the enterprise is not yet profitable/sustainable
    2. Revenues are stagnant or growing slowly, but the enterprise is not however profitable/sustainable
    3. Revenues are growing quickly, but the enterprise is not yet profitable/sustainable
    1. Profitable/sustainable business (with stable, growing, or declining revenues)
    2. Seeking scalability (of impact and/or profits)
    3. Seeking diversification
    4. Seeking an exit
    5. Established national enterprise
    6. Established multinational enterprise

You will get access to an empowering program that will include monetary prizes, mentoring, access to opportunities, and more.

  1. Open House
    1. Online discussions and “info sessions” with thought leaders to build awareness and momentum around the program. 
    2. Selection process
  2. Bootcamp
    1. High-intensity two-month-long Bootcamp with workshops, mentorship, and support for all enterprises. 
    2. Bootcamp Demo Day
    3. Final selection
  3. Accelerator
    1. Weekly or bi-weekly workshops adapted to the needs of the cohort and enterprises
    2. Regular milestone check-ins with all enterprises
    3. Mentorship coordination
    4. Online or offline Demo Day, or otherwise optimized for the interests of partners and the needs of the enterprises to help the enterprises continue their growth path.

Take a leap of faith and apply! It could be you. Yes, you!