Dubai – MENA Herald: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s cleantech startup ecosystem remains underdeveloped, and startups are facing critical barriers in growing their companies, reveals a first-of-its-kind report by GE (NYSE: GE) and Wamda, a platform of programs and networks that aims to accelerate entrepreneurship ecosystems across the region. The report is part of MEMakers, a wider partnership by the two entities, which includes a digital platform focused on industrial startups, mentorship programs, and original research.

The report, ‘MENA’s Cleantech Startups – Unlocking the Path to Solving Environmental Challenges,’ was launched today by GE and Wamda at the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX), which is now open at the Dubai International Convention Center. GE is a Platinum Sponsor of WETEX.

The report highlights that while cleantech startups are emerging and providing innovative solutions, entrepreneurs feel the sector’s growth is being under-utilized due to the low awareness of cleantech among consumers, lack of access to markets, small pool of specialized investment sources, few specialized mentors, and minimal resources for funding research & development. Scaling up the cleantech entrepreneurship ecosystem is a strategic imperative for the region, which is in dire need of innovative solutions to address its environmental challenges, the report states.

Rania Rostom, ‎GE’s Chief Innovation Officer for the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, said: “MENA’s demand for energy is set to increase by 114% while per capita availability of water will be cut by half in the region by 2050. Cleantech startups can play an effective role in meeting these challenges. Through our partnership with Wamda, we are driving the creation of a local innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. The white paper is a great example of how the private sector can collaborate to boost local entrepreneurship, especially in the cleantech sector.

“Our focus is to provide market knowledge, as well as networking and mentorship opportunities that will help them take their businesses to the next level of growth. GE’s regional innovation centers and digital industrial technologies will play a key role in supporting these ventures, highlighting our long-term commitment to promoting sustainable development.”

Habib Haddad, cofounder & CEO of Wamda, added: “MENA is a logical location for cleantech startups, given its environmental challenges and growing regional support for entrepreneurship. Despite their tremendous potential for positive change, cleantech startups do not receive adequate levels of targeted support, and if left unchecked, it could become a missed opportunity for the region to develop innovative environmental solutions. Through our partnership with GE for the MEMakers initiative, we are hoping to bring a tangible change to the cleantech landscape of the region.”

GE has been supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem through a series of initiatives including the MEMakers initiative (www.wamda.com/Memakers) that serves as an online destination to drive dialogue on entrepreneurship. Over the last few months, the network has grown to over 200 start-ups – and more coming.

Copies of the report are available at GE’s stand PSP1 at WETEX in Za’abeel Hall. GE is focusing on the themes of efficiency, operational flexibility and environmental stewardship through its participation at WETEX. Significantly, GE is also showcasing its digital industrial technologies that bring transformational growth in productivity and efficiency. Digitizing the energy mix with the GE’s Predix Industrial Cloud Platform offers 20% potential increase in performance across the customer base. GE’s senior leaders will present technical papers at the WETEX conferences.

With more than 120 years of experience in the energy sector and over 80 years in the region, GE offers total plant solutions and delivers one of the most comprehensive energy technology portfolios in the world and the region.