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Enabling the Next Generation of
Ag-Food Tech Entrepreneurs
in Abu Dhabi

Registrations Closed

About the CEO Program, Agritech Edition

The CEO Program is a Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development initiative supported by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Jenaan Investment, and curated & operated by Stratecis. 


The aim of this program is to enable government employees with an opportunity to cultivate entrepreneurship and innovation skills; build and grow their own ag-food tech ventures; and contribute to UAE's Food Security Strategy.

Are you a government employee interested in launching your own agtech startup or growing your existing one in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi? Then the CEO Program is the right one for you!

Registrations Closed
Arial View of Green Field

Program Objectives

  • Contribute to supporting the growth and development of Abu Dhabi’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through empowering & enabling Abu Dhabi Government Employees in their early-stage agri-food tech entrepreneurial journey.


  • Create entrepreneurship opportunities for Abu Dhabi Government Employees in partnership with industry partners to help find, sustain and grow their new or existing ag-food tech ventures.


  • Equip government employees with practical entrepreneurship & innovation skills, knowledge and tools to develop innovation in agriculture and food; and contribute to building a more sustainable future.


  • Develop supportive programs & enabling environment for emerging entrepreneurs.


  • Enable the transition of government employees to full-time entrepreneurs.

Close Up of Corn Field

Program Benefits

  1. From zero to seed in 9 months, through a specially designed program to build a business that will solve real agriculture challenges.

  2. We support in finding a co-­founding team, perhaps a subject matter pro, CTO/builder, go-to-market/business modeler, with whom the founder will build further confidence.

  3. The program’s successful graduates with viable solutions will potentially be eligible for a 1-year sabbatical leave from their employment.

  4. Get industry expert guidance.

  5. Get linked to industry partners.

  6. Get link to investors.

Who Should Apply?

  • Previous Founder: Someone with experience in venture building to help accelerate the venture.

  • Commercial: Someone with strengths that will help in the go-to-market and building the business model.

  • Tech Geek: Someone capable of helping in the process of building the prototype, and later, the project itself. Ideally a software/hardware engineer, CTO, product manager (who can set the roadmap) or product designer (who can build to POC).

  • Marketing Guru: Someone capable of helping to market the product, build the brand and drive user traction.

  • Subject matter expert: Someone who knows about the unmet agriculture, food and/or farming customer needs that could be utilised.

Registrations Closed
Multiethnic corporate business team meeting in the office for a strategic marketing plan -

Who Gets Selected?

The founders of CEO Program are employees in government sector who have a co-founding team or an individual willing to leave their jobs to become entrepreneurs.

These are the individuals we are looking for:

  • Future Entrepreneur: You believe you have what it takes to to go out of your comfort zone from being an employee to follow your entrepreneurship dream

  • Self-Starter: You are a self-starter and can inspire and motivate yourself and others to join your mission. You set high goals and have proven to achieve them whether at work, sports…

  • Blue Ocean Strategist: That strong attribute which enables your skills and experiences to stand out from the crowd. You have deep knowledge in an area where you can form a competitive advantage.

  • Creative Problem Solver: Your source of energy never runs low. You always find a window when the door closes. You have the willingness and ability to keep going when you're faced with obstacles.

who can join
Program Milestones


How will the CEO Program work?



14 Apr


Submit the application by providing up-to-date information about you. Incomplete forms will not be considered.

Registrations Closed



4 May


7 teams will be shortlisted by the CEO Program judging committee and notified accordingly.

Vegetable Garden

Choose your Innovation Challenge

Challenge 1

How might we create new ways of cooling the greenhouses?

Challenge Description

Most of the greenhouses in the country use low to medium technology: they are usually cooled using a fan and pad system & most fail to reach the required temperature during the summer season. Additionally, too much clean water is used in this process. In this sense, how might we create new ways of cooling the greenhouses, using technology, on a small scale, that can be adopted by at least 15% of UAE growers?

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Challenge 2

How might we connect farms to markets and consumers in order to promote & sell their produce locally and internationally?

Challenge Description

It is a fact that distributors and retailers are charging high prices for marketing, making high profits out of the farmers & the customers. Also, the bargaining power of farmers is very close to zero, as there are a lot of small farmers, when comparing to the number of retailers/distributors. In this sense, how might we increase the farmers share in the consumer dirham (farmer product to consumer/retailer)?

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Challenge 3

How might we use the brine water from the farm reverse osmosis system?

Challenge Description

Most farms in the UAE face issues with the availability of fresh water for farming. This has made more common the use of reverse osmosis to desalinate water. However, the rejected water from this process, can negatively affect the sustainability of the ground. In this sense, how might we use the brine water from the farm reverse osmosis system, in order to ensure the sustainability of the soils? 

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Meet the Mentors

Fadi Naffah

Fadi Naffah

Business Strategist, Innovation Expert & Advisor
Connector of People and Businesses

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Christine Francis

Christine Francis

Leadership & Culture Transformation Coach
Founder of
Grounded Positivity

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Frederic Daumas

Frederic Daumas

CEO & Chairman


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Krystel Khalil

Krystel Khalil 

Coach & Mentor for Social and Green Entrepreneurs

Director of Programs at Berytech

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Danny Maalouly

Danny Maalouly

Head of Investment

USAID Trade & Investment Project
DAI Global LLC

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Louis Smit

Business Planning & Development Sector

Jenaan Investment LLC

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Mohammed Al Falasi

Mohammed Al Falasi

Investment & Business Group

Jenaan Investment LLC

Ahmed Khalfan Al Remeithi

Ahmed Al Remeithi

Acting Director
Enterprise Development Department

Khalifa Fund

Khalifa Al Hammadi

Khalifa Al Hammadi

Entrepreneurs Capacity Building Department

Khalifa Fund

Gaby Awad

Gaby Awad

Business & Executive Coach

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Program's Impact


Get in Touch

Contact Us

Registrations Closed

Curated & Operated by 


 Curated & Operated by: Stratecis FZ LLC (all rights reserved, 2022)

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