Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority and Techstars partnership opens doors for Anjal Z Founder Catalyst Program

  • Over 20 startups to receive masterclasses and mentorship towards developing their innovations and to launch operations in the region
  • Industry experts and AED 620,000 equity free grants awaiting key innovators


Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates – October 20, 2022: The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) – in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) – has opened applications for this year’s Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program where selected startups will receive a bespoke journey backed with mentorships from industry leaders and up to AED 620,000 of equity-free grants through ADIO to enable these companies to provide their services in Abu Dhabi.

This year’s program is launched in collaboration with Techstars – a renowned worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed – with the aim to help startups develop innovative technology in Abu Dhabi to address challenges facing the next generation. The Anjal Z Founder Catalyst Program is one of the only startup programs in the world focused on solving challenges related to early childhood development through innovation.

Powered by the ECA and driven by its vision to promote the health, confidence, and values in a safe, family friendly Abu Dhabi, the program will empower early as well as growth-stage global startups to provide solutions that tackle critical challenges faced during early childhood development, from prenatal stages up to the age of eight. across a variety of sectors of concern, including Health & Nutrition, Child Protection, Family Support and especially Early Care & Education as part of a 10-week Founder Catalyst Program.

Up to 20 startups will benefit from impact-driven masterclasses and mentorship through an online program (16 January – 10 February 2023). Eight startups will be invited to take part in an all-expenses paid, in-person program (20 February – 16 March 2023) in Abu Dhabi. The partnership was announced prior to the launch of GITEX Global 2022, the world’s largest technology and startup super connector event.

Alumni members from previous cohorts made a presence at ECA’s booth at the mega event. Members present included FinlandWay, the school-in-a-box early education franchise network that leverages modern technology to transform education, MonkiBox, the subscription program that supports cognitive and motor development of babies with science backed toys and activities and RemmedVR, the telemedicine platform that uses virtual reality goggles and therapeutic exercises to correct strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye). The stand also hosted Thinkerbell Labs, the minds behind the world’s first digital braille literacy device that helps the visually impaired to read, write and type in braille and WonderTree, the affordable physiotherapy and education game provider that uses augmented reality to help children of determination develop motor, cognitive and educational skills.

Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director General of ADIO, said: “Through programmes like Anjal Z, Abu Dhabi is integrating innovation into the local education sector to deliver globally scalable results. A new group of startups now has the opportunity to leverage the Abu Dhabi ecosystem to find breakthrough solutions to early childhood development challenges.”

Dr Yousef Al Hammadi, Executive Director of Knowledge & Impact at Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, said: “Our goal at the ECA is to support both children and parents with the necessary personal foundations for healthy physical and social-emotional development. We aim to create a stable and secure environment for all children, while also empowering parents and caregivers with the confidence and capabilities to enhance the holistic development of their children. To achieve that, partnerships and programs of this nature are of key importance as they help us find creative and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by both parent and child.” He further added, “We are excited to see how far the Anjal Z program has come and we look forward to welcoming a new cohort of startups and a fresh set of ideas to revolutionize the industry.”

“Through this partnership we are excited to play a role of identifying amazing founders and helping them to develop and soft land their businesses into this thriving region.” said Techstars Senior Director, Oko Davaasuren.

The partnership also opens doors for new applications for Cohort 03, which will be available until 21 November 2022. Founders interested in joining the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst program should apply on eca.gov.ae/anjal-z-homepage/ today or contact anjalz-foundercatalyst@techstars.com

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