Tuesday 29 September 2020 - 9:17:24 am

Theyab bin Mohamed stresses importance of using innovation to enable children and parents to thrive

ABU DHABI, 7th July, 2020 (WAM) -- H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, has reviewed the outcome of the inaugural cohort Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority’s Anjal Z programme and the five scale-ups that completed the programme.

H.H. Sheikh Theyab stressed the importance of using innovation to enable children and parents to thrive, saying, "The completion of these five growth-stage startups for the first-ever cohort of Anjal Z marks a key moment for the Early Childhood Authority, as it looks to provide tools for children across the UAE to thrive and reach their full potential. Innovations occur everywhere, but breakthrough innovations, the kind that leverage novel technologies and business models to increase accessibility, improve offerings and reduce costs, have for years tended to stay within the private sector. The ECA, as part of the public sector, is spearheading innovation in order to transform how people think about and address the needs of young children across the UAE.

"Anjal Z aims to support entrepreneurs to come up with innovative solutions in the field of early childhood development. This initiative is just one of the ways in which the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority is using data-centric interventions to help broaden capabilities to support holistic child development. We are also developing coordinated and aligned policies and strategies so that decision-making continues to be based on research, data, and scientific evidence. In this way, we are empowering young children, their parents, and caregivers for generations to come."

Anjal Z is an initiative launched by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, which aims to empower growth-stage startups from across the world to localize their solutions for Abu Dhabi and the UAE and enable the world’s early childhood innovators to take their products to a bigger market.

Cohort 01 of Anjal Z, which was led under the direction of Sheikh Theyab, received 124 entries from as far afield as the US, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico and the UK; with 20 going on to be shortlisted. Each shortlisted applicant undertook a comprehensive evaluation process including analysis of extensive materials and hour-long interviews before five growth-stage startups were chosen to participate in the programme for a period of eight weeks in Abu Dhabi.

The five growth-stage startups include; "Lamsa" which is a UAE-based mobile application that encourages parents to engage with their children through culturally relevant and interactive Arabic content (stories, games, videos); "Kinedu" that is Video-centric mobile and desktop platform that unleashes early childhood development at scale by fostering quality learning experiences at home and at school; and "Afinidata" that is AI powered chatbot that equips parents with personalised educational activities to develop the brains of their children; "Nurturey" that is a smart mobile application for parents to manage the health and development of their children and "Kinderly", a SAAS platform to support staff in nurseries and work at their best to improve outcomes for all children.

Cohort 01 focused on the localisation and growth of the five growth-stage startups, all of which also received an equity-free grant of $60,000, intensive growth training, mentorship from leading subject matter experts, access to local partnerships with government and non-government entities, including the Department of Health, the Department of Community Development and the Department of Education and Knowledge, in-kind services, and follow-on investment opportunities.

Additionally, the programme included introducing a select group of Emirati graduates to work with the startups and benefit from the experience enabling them to look towards starting small and medium enterprises and creating job opportunities in the areas of early childhood and entrepreneurship. More than 30 students benefited and participated in this scheme, with the top three honored for their exceptional work.

International growth-stage startups that focus on improving early childhood development across Health & Nutrition, Early Care & Education, Child Protection and Family Support targeting children between the ages 0-8 years old can apply to participate in the programme. The second cycle launch date shall be announced later this year.

Anjal Z aims to transform how people understand and address the needs of young children, with a goal of creating a progressive environment for children to grow and thrive.