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The MedUp! Fund is part of the MedUp! project, an EU-funded regional initiative that focuses on strengthening and promoting Social Entrepreneurship in 6 southern Mediterranean countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia).

The MedUp! Fund made available 1 million Euro to support promising and sustainable social enterprises (SEs) and help realize growth-related projects at high social and economic impact that can be implemented within 12 months. The funds to the selected SEs are provided in combination with integrated non-financial support (coaching and mentorship).

During the course of 2019, in the 6 MedUp! countries the National Project Management Units, with the support of the Regional Project Management Unit, launched sub-granting schemes disseminated through national communication campaigns and via dedicated country pages on the VC4A platform that also worked as centralized place where to find all the documents needed for applicants. Following an intense selection process, from the 635 concept notes received in the six countries, 138 full applications were developed by the SEs and rigorously reviewed by National Evaluation Committees (NEC). The full applications were also assessed by a Regional Evaluation Committee (REC), ultimately leading to 64 inspiring social enterprises being identified, from diverse sectors and with differences in size (start-ups to more mature businesses).

All proposals had to respect some minimum requirements in order to be considered for the MedUp! Fund:

  1. The applicant had to be a registered commercial company (or other legal entity form but with a business model and revenue streams) and established and operating in the country where the project is implemented
  2. The applicant had to be a ‘social enterprise’
  3. The proposed project focused on growing the business and is implemented in one of the 6 MedUP! countries
  4. The applicant was not in any way involved in activities such as arms, tobacco, alcohol and gambling industries, registered in so-called tax-havens, or involved in environmental or human rights abuses or corruption
  5. The applicant contributed at least 35% into the financing of the proposed activity
  6. The proposed project will be implemented within 12 months after the first disbursement.

However, each national call for applications followed country-specific timelines and varied in terms of funding available. In particular:

  • In Morocco the MedUp! Fund offered 155.000 Euro which resulted in funding 12 social enterprise from 6.000 to 24.000 Euro;
  • In Egypt the MedUp! Fund offered 130.000 Euro, selecting 9 winners who will receive grants of 8,000 to 22,000 Euro;
  • In Jordan, the Fund’s budget was 220.00 Euro, and this resulted in 11 winners who will receive grants of 12,025 to 38,000 Euro;
  • In Lebanon, MedUp! had 150.000 Euro and selected 10 winners who will receive grants of 10,000 to 24,054;
  • In Palestine, the total budget for MedUp! is 216.000 Euro and it selected 13 winners who will receive grants of 10,000 to 28,000 Euro;
  • In Tunisia, 130.000 Euro are allocated to the growth and development of 9 social enterprises, benefiting from funding from 5.228 Euro to 34.583 Euro.

The 64 social enterprises have been receiving part of their MedUp! grants since January 2020 and are benefiting from 12-months technical support, which is also adapting to the evolving SEs’ needs. During the project implementation, the most promising examples of SEs will be identified, and their practices will be disseminated to stimulate new similar initiatives in geographical areas of the MENA region. These SEs’ practices will also feed the advocacy work the MedUp! project is promoting to stimulate a more enabling institutional framework for SEs to operate smoothly and scale-up.