Nine MENA Startups Aim to Grow their News Ventures with Funding Boost

By: ICFJ | 08/14/2023

Over the past six months, 16 early-stage digital news outlets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) received training and intensive coaching through the Google News Initiative Startups Lab in MENA, led by Google News Initiative, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and MADRAJ. Now, nine of them will receive funding to support their projects.

The cohort tackled specific business problems, with support from Google, ICFJ and experts in the region. Participants learned from personalized mentoring aligned with their business goals, came up with concrete steps to make their outlets more sustainable, and got to learn from other outlets facing similar challenges. 

During their mentorship, participants covered the following topics, and more: business models and strategy, budgeting, institutional policies, legal matters, fundraising, digital security, media ethics and digital storytelling. The nine recipients will now build on this knowledge to take their news ventures a step further with the help of these grants.

Learn more about the nine grantees below:

  • Akkazeh (Lebanon) is a media project that aims to support people with disabilities, challenge stereotypes surrounding them, raise awareness about their rights, and advocate for their protection.
  • HNews (Morocco), established in early January 2023, offers diverse news content covering social, political, economic, cultural, and artistic topics. Founded by experienced female journalists, the platform swiftly delivers information through articles, photos, and videos, with a focus on individual freedoms and women's empowerment, maintaining high credibility.
  • Last Story (Palestine)  is an independent platform focused on narrative storytelling conveying the reality of Palestinians’ lives. 
  • Naqd Media (Lebanon) is an independent media platform that produces multimedia content, sharing news coverage and cultural analyses on social media.
  • Neswan Voice (Yemen)  is the first media platform that focuses on women's news in Yemen, providing a space for Yemeni women to discuss their issues, share their concerns, celebrate their success stories, and advocate for their rights.
  • Palgraph is an independent Palestinian media platform founded by Lammet Sahafa, a journalistic community bringing together over 1,000 Palestinian journalists from the occupied territories and the diaspora.
  • Sawt Africa (Tunisia) is the first Tunisian radio station dedicated to African affairs, serving as a cultural bridge between the north and south of the continent.
  • Solarabic (UAE) is developing the largest Arabic news and educational platform about renewable energy, such as solar, wind, hydro, and more, as well as electric vehicles and sustainability. 
  • The Middle East Voice (Iraq)  is an independent media producing news in Arabic and English, aiming to create and disseminate critical and cultural knowledge about gender, sexuality, and the body, challenging dominant discourses in traditional media.

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