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Solumar, a women-led UAE based startup is the crowned winner of SAIA 4th Edition

Farzana Mansoor

SHARJAH (UAE): Solumar, a women-led UAE based startup, has been declared winner of the 4th Edition of the Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator (SAIA), by the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), for developing cost-efficient technologies to combat emissions and air pollutants.
Solumar beat nine other startups from across the globe in the finals – including those from Brazil, India, Italy, France, China, and UAE – at the final Demo Day held at the SRTIP.
The solution was recognised for making it possible to capture and utilize the collected black carbon and CO2, resell, or reuse other valuable materials by putting them back into production, helping Industrial business owners, maritime, and O&G companies comply with net-zero Agenda 2050 in a cost-efficient way. The solution turns the collected Black Carbon and CO2 into reusable carbon powder, sold at $3000 per ton, generating recurring revenue for those who implement the solution.
This year, the SAIA program underscored its commitment to sustainability by identifying four focus areas: Energy Tech; Sustainable Mobility; Advanced Technologies & Digitalization; and Clean Tech, Green Tech & Agritech.
The popular SAIA program has seen remarkable growth in three years. It registered a phenomenal 154.55% increase in applications — from 1,650 in 2022 to 4,200 – in 2023.
Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, commented: “The surge in applications demonstrates the burgeoning interest in our SAIA program, reinforcing its stature as a preferred platform for global startups. We have positioned SAIA as a pivotal initiative, focused on propelling innovation, and sustainability in the global startup ecosystem. Aligned with the UAE Advanced Industry Strategy, SAIA has played a pivotal role in accelerating the nation’s transformation into a global hub for future industries.
“SAIA’s primary objectives revolve around introducing cutting-edge technology that not only fosters the growth of economies but also nurtures sustainable business practices. In this context, the winning innovation Solumar is a classic example of making innovative use of technologies to combat climate change. I congratulate the winning team, the other finalists and all the applicants and wish them the best in their innovation journey.”
Rennie Popcheva, CEO, Solumar, says: “The Solumar team is on a mission to help Industrial Business Owners, Maritime and O&G companies reach net-zero strategic objectives by deploying the most cost-efficient technology for the direct capture, utilization, and storage of multiple pollutants combined (particles, Black Carbon, VOC, and Gases) – reaching 92% to 99% capturing efficiency with by 6-10 times lower CAPEX and OPEX, saving millions of operational costs every year. Thanks to our successful participation in Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator (SAIA) we are one step closer to achieving this mission. ”
The ten startups selected for the finals represented a diverse range of industries and technologies, collectively embodying the innovative spirit that defines the SAIA program. Each startup brought unique solutions and perspectives, contributing to the overall success and impact of the program. The cohort startups collectively raised over AED100 million, a reflection of the level and calibre of startups attracted by SAIA.
Apart from Solumar, the other finalists were the following: (1) Sukoon Agricultural Services (UAE), an Emirati-owned startup, blends tradition with technology to empower UAE farmers, with a focus on sustainability, aligned with UAE Vision 2050 addressing key challenges in agriculture; (2) LandPrint (Brazil) offers a regenerative farm rating system and strategic insights for sustainable farming practices, aligned with the broader vision of creating a sustainable agricultural sector; (3) EyeROV (India) pioneers unmanned robotics solutions for marine, energy, defence, and research sectors, contributing to the exploration and understanding of underwater environments; (4) Namla (France) specializes in Edge Computing and Edge AI solutions, empowering businesses with cutting-edge technologies, aligned with UAE’s digital transformation objectives; (5) RIS3D (Brazil) offers cutting-edge industry 4.0 solutions with digital twin technologies and simulators; (6) To Move (Italy) focuses on sustainable last-mile mobility solutions, paving the way for eco-friendly urban transportation; (7) AAKRI (India) is dedicated to end-to-end waste management, with a specific focus on biomedical waste, supporting circular economy solutions; (8) Go Additive (Italy) utilizes AI to create highly efficient 3D designs with a strong focus on sustainability, particularly supporting additive manufacturing and design; and (9) Phabuilder Biotechnology (China) produces a range of sustainable products, contributing to the advancement of biotechnology solutions.
The SRTIP’s annual SAIA program goes beyond traditional accelerator offerings, providing comprehensive mentorship and facilitating corporate matchmaking to startups. It acts as a conduit, connecting startups with potential investors, deploying impactful demos and pilots to showcase their innovative solutions. This year’s edition sought to actively contribute to the global sustainability agenda, aligning with the COP28 initiative and the UAE’s Green Agenda 2030.
The SAIA 2023 program was supported by a strong network of strategic partners and sponsors, that include the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Shell Energy, Legal Circle, LMKR, Sharjah Entrepreneurial Center (Sheraa), Sharjah SME RUWAD, Invest in Sharjah, and AR Engineering.