Middle East and North Africa Regional Innovation Hub
Scaling Water-Energy-Food Innovations in MENA
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is subject to many challenges including water scarcity, environmental degradation, unemployment, conflicts and increased migration. Tackling issues in the water-energy-food nexus is imperative to achieve political and social stability, gender equality and inclusion, food security, and sustainable development.
Although the region’s water-energy-food challenges are severe, they present an opportunity for local innovators to find solutions for the most pressing water and energy issues in food production and agriculture.
The MENA Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH) supports innovators that work in the region and produce more food while using less water and energy. Together with investors and partners, the MENA RIH works to scale mid-to-later stage enterprises that have an environmental and social impact in the water-energy-food nexus.
Through WE4F, innovators from the MENA region can now access the financial support, technical support, and investment matching necessary to make food production and farming more sustainable, productive, and bountiful. Supported projects must fulfill strict environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, have positive effects on the environment, strive for gender equality and inclusion, and ensure secure access to food for all.
Where We Work
We currently work in nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The Regional Innovation Hub for MENA has its headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. There are further country coordination offices in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Palestinian Territories and we have partners all across the region.
Innovators operating in the following countries are eligible to receive support from the WE4F MENA Hub:
Egypt West Bank/Gaza
What We Offer
Are you an innovator with a proven solution tackling water and/or energy issues in urban or rural food production? Do you want to scale your business from a few hundred to hundreds of thousand clients? We will help you to make your vision come true!
Once you have passed our selection process, you will get free technical support from the region’s most qualified water-energy-food business experts. Depending on your needs, we can further provide you with grants, soft loans or other direct financial support ranging from several 10,000 US$ to a few 100,000 US$. On top of that, we will link you with investors and investment opportunities that will make sure you can multiply your impact in the MENA region.
Please note that WE4F is NOT a startup program. Your solution needs to be proven and you need to have a running production, an existing customer base and recurring sales. If you are not there yet, check out the regional incubation and acceleration programs of Berytech and cewas Middle East that will get you there.
For more information on how you can profit from WE4F as an innovator and entrepreneur, subscribe to our newsletter or contact email@example.com.
Are you looking for commercial or sub-commercial, impact-oriented investments in the water, energy and food sector in the MENA region, but you are having trouble finding viable candidates? Are potential investments in the region currently too risky for you? Contact us for more information on our growing portfolio of mid-to later stage water-energy-food enterprises and innovative financing mechanisms. We can help you with de-risking investments by backing them up with grants, soft loans or other financial instruments at our hand. Furthermore, investors profit from our complimentary due diligence processes and substantial technical assistance we provide to our portfolio companies.
For further information on investment opportunities:
The Regional Innovation Hub MENA for WE4F supports promising innovators with technical assistance, direct funding and investment matching. We are in an on-going dialogue with key institutional and financial players and we promote the potential of water-enegy-food innovations in tackling the region’s challenges through targeted communication, awareness raising and joint advocacy to create a more enabling environment.
If you are a government or private sector actor striving for the same goals, contact us to explore synergies and potential partnerships to support local water-energy-food innovators.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for Expression of Interest (EOI) from Service Providers
Join a pre-vetted pool of service providers for Water and Energy for Food (WE4F): A Grand Challenge for Development (MENA). Work with game-changing innovators in the water-energy-food nexus and be a part of scaling solutions and unlocking opportunities across the MENA region.
With this document, the MENA Regional Innovation Hub invites eligible service providers to respond to Water and Energy for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development (WE4F)’s Call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to become part of the pool of pre-vetted providers.
DUE DATE: EOIs shall be submitted as soon as possible starting: July 20th , 2023, to September 15th, 2023, via the online application form, which can be
accessed at: https://form.jotform.com/231002343900034
Who We Are
Our MENA RIH is a consortium of locally rooted organizations, with long histories of working with each other and countless partners towards a more sustainable Middle East and North Africa:
- The consortium is led by Berytech, Lebanon’s leading entrepreneurship support organization that has supported more than 3800 innovative entrepreneurs since 2002 with a strong focus on agritech and cleantech innovations and expertise in fund management and funding social scalable enterprises and innovative enterprises.
- Chemonics Egypt (CE), with offices in Egypt and projects across MENA, brings in strong expertise in energy, agriculture, water and has supported over 1,000 entrepreneurs at the idea stage and 100 growing businesses in the water-food-energy nexus since 1992. CE also supports large firms, governments and international organizations in the sectors of focus above.
- cewas is the planet’s first dedicated organization specifically supporting water nexus entrepreneurs with an impact focus. Although operating on a global level, the Middle East is cewas’ most important regional program with long-term entrepreneurship and ecosystem development programs and local staff in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine since 2013.
- Finally, IWMI has global presence and a regional office in Egypt and brings in a longstanding expertise in policy, advocacy and research on the use of water in agriculture and other related water-energy-food nexus matters as well as ample of experience with smallholder farmers, social inclusion and resource sustainability.
The Team in the Middle East and North Africa
As Regional Innovation Hub Manager, Nicolas is leading the RIH’s day-to-day management, as well as the various work streams and activities. He also ensures that WE4F’s objectives in the MENA are met, and that all stakeholders (including but not limited to innovators, partners, donors and investors) are well catered for. Before joining WE4F in 2020, he amassed an 11-year regional and multi-industry experience in Corporate Banking, Syndication lending, Project Finance non-recourse basis, and PPPs, including utility scale renewable energy projects, on top of ad-hoc missions related to nationwide high level strategic projects. Nicolas has worked on arranging and structuring specialized transactions of a $2billion aggregate value, interfaced with large and complex corporations, UHNWI individuals, Government officials, IFIs, DFIs, Tier 1 global legal counsels, technical and financial consultants, and environmental and social advisors.
With more than two decades of international experience in management in different disciplines, Ramy has amassed diversified knowledge in the fields of change and quality management, operations, and entrepreneurship, Innovation and SMEs support programs, equipping him with the skillset needed to advise the WE4F MENA Regional Innovation Hub and lead the consortium. Ramy holds a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Engineering from American University of Beirut, and a master’s degree in Business Management and Economics from CIHEAM, Greece. He has a strategic business mindset and is committed to excellence. Ramy is also the COO at Berytech, where he oversees many programs related to Entrepreneurship, Innovation, SMEs Support and is a board member for several organizations.
As Grants and Financial Control Specialist, Tina plays a key role in the design, development, and oversight of WE4F MENA’s grant management and TA procurement policies, procedures, and practices. She graduated from HEC School of Management in Paris with a master’s in management – finance emphasis. Tina previously worked as a regional finance manager and compliance officer for multinational pharmaceutical and medical devices companies covering countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and CIS regions. She handled both fiduciary roles and business partnerships roles. She also worked on a program for Economic Empowerment of Women funded by the World Bank.
Dr. Ahmed Huzayyin
Ahmed oversees technical assistance to our innovators at the MENA RIH. He is an assistant professor at the Electrical Power and Machines Department, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University and an assistant professor (status only) at the Energy Systems Group, University of Toronto. Ahmed acquired his PhD from the University of Toronto in 2011 and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the same institution till 2013. Ahmed is a co-founder in Cleantech Arabia and is currently the manager of the Eco-Industrial Unit which he co-founded within Chemonics Egypt Consultants (CEC). On a policy level, Ahmed worked on projects related to industrial energy efficiency and sustainability, energy planning, as well as environmental and social issues relevant to the energy industry.
As our Hub’s Communication & Knowledge Management Specialist, Hannah has dedicated her career to fostering innovation and the transfer of knowledge and skills to benefit people and the planet. She speaks six languages and holds a MSc degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a BA in International Liberal Studies with a focus on International Relations from Waseda University, Japan. In addition to several years of experience working in sustainable innovation, environmental consulting and social entrepreneurship, Hannah’s core expertise is in communications and business development. For the past years, she has been committed to supporting entrepreneurs all over the Middle East and North Africa.
Ireny holds the lead responsibility for the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning component of the WE4F MENA RIH. Ireny supports the RIH team by leading the development and implementation of the M&E system in line with the donor requirements. Ireny is a skilled Monitoring and Evaluation Expert with a demonstrated history of 12+ years’ experience on seven developmental projects with international organizations. She is experienced in designing Monitoring and Evaluation systems with Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Plans, data collection forms and indicators to measure performance against set goals and targets. Ireny is based in Egypt and she holds a master’s degree in Economics in International Development.
As founder and Co-Director, Michael represents cewas in the MENA RIH consortium and contributes to the Hub’s capacity development activities. Throughout his 18+ years of work experience, Michael has been an innovator, knowledge producer, trainer, facilitator, and specialized water/food business development coach. Michael is a Geographer with minors in Business Administration and Transdisciplinary Environmental Sciences. At cewas, Michael has planned and conducted 100+ capacity development programs for practitioners, decision makers and innovators, including 19 year-long specialized capacity building programs and coaching of 200+ water, sanitation & waste entrepreneurs worldwide. He has co-designed and developed the largest knowledge platform in sustainable water and sanitation management worldwide (www.sswm.info).
Aline is the Co-Director of cewas and in charge of developing partnerships for the MENA RIH and its innovator cohort. Aline is a water management specialist by education and a natural resource manager by practice, connecting agricultural, sanitation, waste and other environmental sectors with innovation, business development and impact financing. Establishing networks, projects and businesses is her passion and mission, which she utilizes for the MENA RIH as she has done to build the cewas Middle East regional branch. Aline has extensive water, environment, and business -related knowledge and network in the Middle East and East Africa, which she draws upon to coach and train sector-specific businesses and support developing respective markets.
Dr. Noura Abdelwahab
Noura is leading the integration of gender at MENA RIH operations. She is an experienced regional Gender consultant with more than 20 years of experience in conducting gender and market assessments, gender audit and research in MENA region for International and regional organizations namely the World Bank, UNDP, ADB, IOM, ILO, WFP, ICARDA, FAO, and USAID funded projects. Over the years, she has built strong relations with the different stakeholders and active market players including SMEs’ in Egypt and the MENA region. Noura is an economics graduate from Cairo University and holds a master’s degree in Economics from Nottingham University and a PhD degree in Economics from Cairo University.
Sarah is an Environmental specialist with over 5 years of experience in water resources and environmental management in national and international organizations. She currently is part of the RIH’s team in both the ESG and MEL components and helps the innovators improve their environmental impact, on top of supporting in the monitoring, evaluation and learning component to ensure successful measurement of the progress achieved throughout the innovators’ journey. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Zewail University of Science and technology. Her experience involves providing optimized water treatment solutions in rural as well as urban areas and mapping of wastewater reuse models in the MENA region. She is a member of the IWRA-Water Security Bureau (International Water Resources Association) and she received first place award in FAO’s Land and Water Days hackathon for her work on floods early warning system in Yemen.
Irene is the Head of Entrepreneurship and MSMEs in Chemonics Egypt since 2014 and supports technical assistance activities at the MENA RIH. For the last 11 years, she focused on the intersection of technical and business aspects of clean technologies. She worked on multiple studies including market analysis, policy, technology, value chain and clusters analysis and development in various recycling and renewable energy sub-sector. She co-established Egypt’s first incubation, acceleration and growth management programs in the clean technology markets and has advised over 100 startups and MSMEs working in the water-energy-food nexus from technical aspects to investment readiness. Irene holds a MSc Degree in Masters of Energy Systems Management from the University of San Francisco.
Nour, the lead accountant at the MENA RIH, has 4+ years of experience in the business industry. Dedicated and detail oriented, Nour has spent 3 years at a food and beverage company in which she led the accounting department and handled client relationships on all levels along with the external auditors. Additionally, she added to her learning path costing, budgeting, and reporting. Nour got her start in the accounting industry as an administrative in several insurance companies. During this period, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Accounting and Audit) from Sagesse University. Nour continues to study for her CMA certificate to unlock higher knowledge.
Anthony coordinates daily between all stakeholders within the MENA RIH as well as the innovators and donors. As part of Anthony’s role, he supports the Grants and Finance Team with Technical Assistance Procurement. During events such as conferences and convenings Anthony plays a key role on the logistics side of things. His experience with Accelerators and Startups as well as the traditional agricultural sector makes WE4F the right fit. He has a background in Hospitality and Tourism in which he did his Undergraduate Studies; followed by a Master’s in Business Administration.
As Grants and Financial Control Officer, Rachelle supports the Head of Grants and Controls in the design, development, and oversight of WE4F MENA’s grant management and TA procurement policies, procedures, and practices. Additionally, she is the lead accountant at the MENA RIH, with 3+ years of experience in the business industry. She graduated from the Lebanese American University with a master’s in management – finance emphasis and received CertIFR certificate from the ACCA. Rachelle previously worked in an insurance company as a Financial Controller where she played a major role in maximizing revenue and mitigating credit risk.
Maisam is the Jordan Coordinator for the MENA RIH and has vast experience in Water, Energy, and Climate Change programs with national and international NGOs. He is the first point of contact for our innovators and partners in Jordan. In his work, Maisam focus on green entrepreneurship, innovation in water and sanitation, and ecosystem development through partnerships and institutional collaboration. He is a passionate trainer and mentor for emerging entrepreneurs. Maisam holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (Jordan University of Science and Technology) and MSc in geophysics (University of Houston).
Mounes holds a BSc. in electrical engineering and is Microsoft certified database and data analyst. He has a further certification in risk management. He contributes 11 years of experience in various industries (FMCG, banking, economic growth, entrepreneurship, and USAID projects experience) and has broad expertise in adapting to changing market needs, engaging with entrepreneurs and SME’s for technical and financial services and advisory services, including supply chain, marketing, and product development.
Nashwan is a Water Resources Engineer and multidisciplinary Project Manager. He uses his collective +7 years of experience in WASH, water sector reforms, and business development processes to support resources management sector specific actors including entrepreneurs, SMEs, practitioners, and managers. His background and field of expertise enabled him to offer backstopping and coordination support in the Enabling Environment-related interventions. In addition to the coordination support that Nashwan offers to the Iraqi businesses in WE4F Program, he also supports them through improving on their marketing, managerial, financial, and operational aspects to catalyze healthier and more sustainable growth.
Pamela is responsible for assisting the innovators in their investment readiness journey to successfully raise funds, including delivery of trainings, financial analysis, technical assistance, valuation & financial modeling and providing support in the preparation of investment documents and a complete data room. In addition, Pamela works on mapping potential investors in the region, organizing investment events and linking investors to innovators as part of the brokerage and investment facilitation duty.
Pamela holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance, and she is Certified Management Accountant (CMA). She has nine years of experience in the corporate and retail lending, feasibility studies and financial services. In her last position as Relationship Manager at Lebanon & Gulf Bank S.A.L, Pamela was eager to assist hundreds of corporate companies accessing debt funding to initiate, maintain and grow their businesses.
Talar is a business administration graduate with over 5 years of experience in marketing, communication, and fundraising. As WE4F’s MENA RIH’s Communication & Knowledge Management coordinator, Talar values storytelling and highlighting innovators impact within the WE4F social channels. In addition to several years of experience working in sustainable innovation, environmental and social entrepreneurship, Talar’s core expertise is in communications and content management, such as impact stories, press releases, blogs, social media posts on the latest activities of the innovators.
Dr. Youssef Brouziyne
Dr. Youssef has an extensive international experience of more than twelve years across water and agricultural value chains while serving world-class businesses and organizations in North Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe, and the UK. His fields of interest and expertise cover sustainability, resilience, and performance within the agricultural and water systems under changing climate.
Michel is a fresh graduate from the Lebanese University in audit & accounting. He has previous experience in the retail business as a junior accountant in charge of cashflow entries, reconciliations for numerous branches around the country and follow-up with suppliers. In the WE4F program, he will be making sure of the accounts referring to budgets as he will follow-up closely with the partners while reporting to the USAID. Michel will be soon applying for the CPA certification to further his expertise in accounting.
Veronica Abou Kheir
Veronica, a dedicated professional with a master’s degree in environmental management and sciences, is committed to her role as the WE4F MENA Regional Innovation Hub (RIH) Program Officer. With an illustrious background encompassing both academic and practical achievements, Veronica brings a wealth of experience to her role within the WE4F MENA RIH. Her deep-rooted passion for sustainable practices and environmental stewardship propels her to take on a multifaceted approach in her position.
Laith is an Environmental Specialist who oversees ESG integration, and the environmental assessment components in the MENA RIH. At an educational level Laith specializes in Water Resource Technology and Management, as well as in Innovative Management and Entrepreneurship, earning two M.Sc. in these domains. As part of his professional experience, Laith worked in engineering and business-related positions in Europe, Middle-East, Philippines and Kenya, for the energy, water and social development sectors. Laith is passionate about natural resource management, and he is looking to employ his knowledge to help MENA RIH’s innovators implement their ideas in a more environmentally friendly manner, that realizes economic benefit at the same time.
Before joining WE4F and since 2015, Aliaa has varied experience working closely with entrepreneurs supporting SMEs in business modeling, and developing organizational structures and operations management. since 2017 Aliaa has worked and managed projects with USAID, IOM, and government sectors all over Egypt’s governorates to empower vulnerable women and support vocational students to become entrepreneurs. Aliaa is also building a progressive experience in business analysis. Aliaa has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ain shams university in Egypt.
Soukaina is passionate about finding innovative solutions to complex problems. As an experienced business consultant, her expertise lies in developing and implementing strategies to drive business growth, increase efficiency, initiate large-scale business transformations, create partnerships and identify new opportunities. She is also concerned about social impact, having initiated and implemented a number of high-impact social development projects in Morocco, such as the ‘Auto-Entrepreneur’ project, which is offering unemployed people the opportunity to start their own formal individual businesses and receive free technical support from local government agencies. With her technical background in industrial engineering and remarkable organizational skills, she brings positive momentum to the WE4F innovators and helps them start their growth journey and achieve greater socio-economic impact.
Farida holds the role of a private sector consultant within the Eco-industrial division at Chemonics Egypt. She also serves as one of the program managers for the WE4F MENA hub’s technical assistance team, which is responsible for supporting technical aid initiatives within the MENA RIH. Over the past 7 years, she has been engaged as a governance advisor for both the public and private sectors, collaborating with GIZ and Save the Children International. Her primary areas of focus encompass organizational growth, policy formulation, and the facilitation of stakeholder interactions between governmental and private enterprises. Previously, she has fulfilled roles as a business developer and a technical analyst in the realm of the green economy sector. Farida holds a master’s degree in Business Leadership and Strategic Management from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology.