Mastercard, Aramex crown The Surpluss as ScaleUp 2023 competition champion

First edition of ScaleUp SME awards see more than 300 entrants
Mastercard, Aramex crown The Surpluss as ScaleUp 2023 competition champion
Part of the ceremony (Photo Credit: Mastercard)

The Surpluss has emerged as the victorious enterprise in the Mastercard and Aramex ScaleUp 2023 program, which aims to foster the growth of startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE. ScaleUp, introduced in October 2023, was created in collaboration with The Entrepreneurial Nation, an initiative by the UAE Ministry of Economy. Moreover, this initiative provided an exhilarating platform for the country’s startups and SMEs to showcase their inventive concepts.

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The announcement took place at a distinguished ceremony held in Dubai, which commemorated ScaleUp 2023. This exclusive networking occasion united the thriving startup community of the UAE, providing invaluable advice on achieving business success. In addition, the event featured inspiring speeches by executives from Mastercard, Aramex, and RAKBANK, who shared their wisdom and insights to guide SMEs along their paths of growth.

World’s first B2B platform

The Surpluss stands as the pioneering B2B platform dedicated to facilitating the sharing of surplus resources, enabling companies to minimize waste and cut costs by identifying unused resources and connecting them with new recipients. Moreover, as the triumphant recipient of ScaleUp 2023, Rana Hajirasouli, founder of The Surpluss, will be awarded a grant valued at AED250,000 and will be invited to an exclusive angel investor luncheon. Furthermore, she will enjoy marketing visibility, business mentorship, and preferential rates for logistics services provided by Aramex.

Strong uptake

The competition garnered significant interest from the startup community in the UAE, attracting over 300 entries. Among the submitted proposals, recurring themes revolved around sustainability, waste management, education, and financial services.

Additionally, the second-place finishers were Fero Ai, a company that offers intelligent business automation software tailored for the logistics industry, and Nadeera Technologies, a social enterprise that focuses on providing innovative digitally enabled solutions for solid waste management. Both Fero Ai and Nadeera Technologies were also extended invitations to the exclusive angel investor lunch.

Innovation and creativity

“At Mastercard, we pledged to bring 50 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into the digital economy by 2025, and initiatives such as ScaleUp bring this commitment to life. We thank Aramex for their partnership and joint commitment to grow SMEs in the region.  It was inspiring to see the sheer amount of innovation and creativity hundreds of entrants brought to the table. We congratulate The Surpluss on the win and look forward to helping them further scale up their business,” said Amnah Ajmal, executive vice president, Market Development, EEMEA, Mastercard.

 Strong legacy

“Building on its strong legacy of fostering the region’s startup scene, Aramex proactively works to enable entrepreneurs to strengthen their contribution to the UAE’s economic development and amplify the positive impact of startup-led innovation. Our collaboration with Mastercard is a prime example of our efforts to fuel a dynamic SME ecosystem with solid foundations for long-term growth. The quality of this year’s ScaleUp entries, and especially their high focus on sustainability, gives us confidence that startups in the UAE are well-equipped to lead the way to a brighter future,” said Tarek Abu Yaghi, general manager, UAE, Aramex.

Need for digitalization

“As a UAE-based female founder of a climate-technology start up, winning this prize is a game changer for us. The opportunity to be supported by industry leaders such as Mastercard and Aramex reinforces there is a need for digitalization across SME value chains that contributes to meaningful climate action. Deep seated cross-sectoral collaboration is the catalyst for sustainability transformation, and this is the perfect opportunity to execute this whilst scaling our impact. We are honored and thrilled to have been part of such an exceptional competition, and look forward to what is yet to come,” said Rana Hajirasouli, founder, The Surpluss. 

Furthermore, the ScaleUp platform is in line with the UAE’s aspiration to foster the growth of 20 unicorns by 2031. SMEs already make up 94 percent of the country’s business landscape and contribute over 50 percent to its GDP. Projections indicate that the number of small businesses in the UAE is expected to reach 1 million by 2030.

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