MENAinc Constitution

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MENAinc Middle East and Northern Africa Network of Business Incubators and Technology Parks

 

Mission, Structure, and Members of MENAinc

As an informal not-for-profit membership network

 

 

MENAinc MISSION

“Leveraging regional incubation experiences with the timely and effective involvement of concerned stakeholders for bettering aligning and advancing national incubation initiatives at their various stages”

 

MENAinc VISION

 

“Involving business incubation stakeholders from all MENA countries in a self-motivated, proactive and Internet-enabled process of effective and efficient sharing of pertinent information, knowledge and resources along the various stages of the incubation process.”

 

“Sharing international good incubation practices with the concerned parties in the MENA region and beyond in a timely and targeted manner and in the most suitable format leading to a unique MENA region online observatory for innovation, entrepreneurship, and business incubation.”

 

MENAinc OBJECTIVES

 

The general objects of MENA Inc are

 

  • To facilitate contacts between its members and promote the development of both incubators and techno parks.
  • To facilitate the exchange of experiences between the incubators and techno parks and entrepreneurship programs by placing at their disposal members' knowledge, national and international contacts and experience.
  • To create networks of co-operation between the different sectors of influence in the world of incubators and techno  parks and knowledge-based incubation projects, such as entrepreneurs and institutions in the fields of science, technology and industry.
  • To endeavor that the MENA Inc be represented before the most prestigious international organizations.
  • To create and develop a range of services to support its members and further the MENA Inc 's objects (such as publications, training-courses, data-bases, the use of the latest telecommunication-techniques and whatever others may be deemed appropriate).
  • To exchange information about the creation, development and management of incubators and techno parks or similar projects, and to promote their activities.
  • To encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences between the managers responsible for the incubators and parks by making the MENAinc the main forum in which the -managers can encourage new development-plans and partnership-initiatives.
  • By means of regular, updated information about objectives, progress and results, to foster public and social awareness of the role of incubators and techno parks and of their contribution to regional development.
  • To encourage all kinds of initiatives that help to promote companies located in incubators and techno parks.
  • Improving the success rate of incubators and techno parks of MENA countries by sharing the best practices, management skills and resources.

 

1- STRUCTURE OF MENAinc

 

1.1. Members of MENAinc

Members of MENAinc are persons or institutions actively involved with supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the MENA region:.

  • Staff and/or stakeholders of business and technical incubators or incubation programs, technology, research and science parks, industrial parks
  • Existing or potential client firms of incubation centers and technology parks, and entrepreneurs,
  • Universities, higher education institutions, and research centers as well as SME development agencies.
  • Ministries in charge of industry, technology, education and development, chambers of industry and commerce, trade associations, national science institutions, governmental or private innovation promotion agencies, foreign direct investment agencies, investors, banks, enterprises, micro-financing organizations, etc.
1.2 Membership Categories

There will be four categories for membership in MENAinc and they include: Full Members, Supporting Members, Individual Members and Associate Members.

 

  1. Full Member: This membership category is open to business incubators and technology parks (within MENA or out of MENA region) and offers full membership rights and benefits. The member institution is represented by its manager. Additionally one staff members can be nominated to attend MENAinc events and represent the member. (US$250 / Year). Only this membership category includes voting rights at the General Assembly and can be elected to the MENAinc Board of Directors.

 

Full membership is acquired pending the approval by the majority of the board of directors. Until full membership is approved, the institution is considered as a “trial member” from 6 months to a maximum of 24 months.. The “trial” membership should be terminated or transferred to full membership by the members of the BoD after a period of time of 6 to 24 months. The “trial” membership includes all rights and obligations of full membership excluding the right to become member of the MENAinc Board and to vote at the General Assembly.

 

  1. Supporting Member: This membership category is open for all institutions and organizations that want to support the activities of MENAinc, such as banks, venture/seed capital funds, public institutions, economic development organizations, consultants etc. (US$1,000 / year).

 

  1. Individual Member: For individuals and professionals who are working in innovation, entrepreneurship programs, business incubation and related areas. (US$150 / year).

 

  1. Associate member: Incubators under development (Planning stage). (US$ 200 / year)
1.3 Board of Directors (BoD)

The Executive Board formed at the Amman meeting by the attending members will continue serving in its function as the Board of Directors until MENAinc reaches a number of 25 members. At that stage the General Assembly of  MENAinc will vote for Board of Directors.

 

The Board of Directors (BoD) consists of seven elected members representing the countries of the MENA region in the best possible way (Each country can be represented by only one member on the Board of Directors). Members of the BoD are the President, at least two Vice-Presidents, and up to four other members. The Members of the BoD will be elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term.

 

The Board of Directors is responsible for:

  • Selecting the Focal Point Network Coordinator
  • Evaluating and approving the action plan,
  • Approving the Action Teams for specific network activities
  • Evaluating the performance of The Focal Point and network at large
  • Proposing the annual budget and financial statement to the General Assembly

 

1.4 The Focal Point Coordinator

The Focal Point Network Coordinator is responsible for

  • Proposing the MENAinc Action Plan
  • Coordination among the members and other institutions
  • Proposing Action Teams for specific network activities
  • Proposing the annual budget and financial statement
  • Reporting to members

The Focal Point Network Coordinator is Member of the BoD with full voting rights

1.5-General Assembly

The General Assembly is the assembly of all full members of MENAinc and is the decision taking body for

  • Election of members of the Board of Directors
  • Reviewing and Endorsing the Annual Budget and Financial Statement
  • Reviewing and Endorsing the Long Term Activity Plan of MENAinc

 

The General Assembly shall meet at least once every two years and is eligible to take decision if the invitation for the General Assembly has been sent to members at least four weeks before the date of the meeting, the agenda has been made available at least two weeks prior to the meeting, and at least sixty per cent of the full members are present or represented by proper proxy with two weeks notice to the Secretariat.

1.5-Project Team(PT) (steering committee)

An experienced project team shall be set up by the BoD for projects of special importance for MENAinc. The Project Manager (PM), assigned by the BoD is leading the PT. The PM should have at least three years experience in incubation development and management. The project team will be fully responsible for achievement of the respective  MENAinc project and  therefore will be sufficiently empowered by the BoD.

At the end of the project the PT will submit a full report (achievement and financial report) about the project to the BoD for evaluation and to be then reported to the general assembly at the end of the two years-term.

1.6-Secretariat – MENAinc Focal Point

MENAinc Focal Point is the secretariat of the network responsible for all organizational and administrational matters. The Focal Point has been set up in Bahrain at the Bahrain Business Incubator Center for the first two years of network operation. At the latest six months before the end of this term the BoD will seek proposals to select a new Focal Point among the members of the BoD..

 

1.7-Board of Directors Elections

Six weeks before  the end of the two-years term the BoD will call for a general assembly, and new BoD elections.

 

Nomination of Candidates will be done by the Secretariat by emailing a Call to Members to receive nomination, whereby the roles and responsibilities will be highlighted in the email. Nominees have to pay their membership fees as per the by-laws to qualify to become a “Candidate” for the board of director elections.

 

The final list of candidates will be published after validating the interest / readiness of all those nominated.

 

Candidates (full members of the network), will send their names to be listed in the election ballots, both methods of voting: electronic and actual voting will be adopted to select the members of the new BoD. The Ballots will include all the qualified candidate names; and every full member will only select seven names maximum to become the new members for the BoD. The number of board members will be maximum of seven.

 

A second phase voting will be run by the elected BoD in order to select the Chairman and two Vice-Chairmen. The BoD member with highest votes will be selected as Chairman, and the two Vice Chairmen will be the members with the voting rates next to him in descending sort. Some of the responsibilities of the members of the board members will include acting like in their capacity as regional coordinators to cover other countries that are not members and project team members.

 

Each country can be represented by only one member on the BoD. Furthermore, the election of the BoD is made based on the personal capacity of the members and not the organization they represent or work in. Finally, if the person resigns from the BoD a new election will take place to replace this individual.

 

2  MEMBERSHIP

2.1- Rights and Responsibilities of Members

Full members of MENAinc have the right to attend the General Assembly and vote on all issues. All other members may attend the General Assembly however without any voting right.

 

All members accept responsibility for providing information to other members about matters related with innovation and entrepreneurship support, especially business incubation and technology park activities in their country. They also will seek to assist other members in making needed contacts and providing support.

2.2- Membership dues

Annual fees for membership in MENAinc have been established with the aim to secure the minimum of an infrastructure (secretariat) that is needed for maintaining the basic network operations without being in this respect dependent on financial support from Third parties. In view of this aim the implemented fee structure will be reviewed and – if necessary - adapted in a two years basis for the first three years of operation.

 

2.3-Activities and Member Benefits

For informing about their membership in the network all members have the right  to use the MENAinc logo on their printed materials as well as on their websites.

All members also may attend all events organized by MENAinc and have access to all information materials developed by MENAinc taking advantage of reduced fees (if available).

 

MENAinc Portal

MENAinc will have a portal that will be the main resource for information and knowledge sharing for the members. Each member will have a password to access the MENAinc portal.

 

Business Incubator and Techno Park Handbook

MENAinc and consultants shall prepare a handbook and / or toolkit for managers of business incubators and technology parks. This information shall be updated periodically by MENAinc

 

Good Practice Workshops

MENAinc shall organize Good Practice Workshops hosted by its members. Topics and program are to be decided with the members. This hands-on approach allows members to keep the focus on essential issues identified by technology / business incubators.

 

Courses

MENAinc aims at contributing to its members' human resources development. Thus,  relevant courses shall be established in order to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to improve their achievements in the context of the incubation industry.

 

Staff and Company Exchanges/Visit

Staff and or Company exchanges shall be arranged for incubator’s staff and for incubated companies.  Each exchange enables the participants to gain work experience in another incubator based in another member state through which they may learn new work approaches related to the incubation industry and new business opportunities.

 

Events &Seminars

MENAinc shall organize events and seminars for increasing the communication among its member and sharing the knowledge and experience.

 

Funding Schemes

In order to support SMEs and incubators’ tenants several funding schemes are needed. MENAinc will seek to influence all related institutions for making such schemes available.

 

Annual Awards

MENAinc will seek to deliver an Annual Award during its Annual Events. The Award distribution aims at emphasizing the outstanding results achieved by a member in one specific aspect of his work in the incubation industry.

 

2.4-Additional activities of MENAinc
  • To provide all manners of support for the smooth operation of an exchange-network between incubators and techno parks.
  • To participate in contracts or agreements for the execution of any work contemplated.
  • To apply for, request and seek any grants available to the MENAinc; to collect funds and promote or procure subsidies, subscriptions, benefactions, donations, devises and bequests both from public and private bodies and from any other persons that may help to achieve all or any of the MENAinc objects.
  • To collect, organize and distribute information concerning any matters of interest to its members.
  • To organize periodical meetings and conferences and to publish informative documents that may help to achieve the MENAinc objects.
  • To encourage the use of training-courses.
  • To assist the establishment of Business Angels network among MENA countries
  • To suggest and initiate adequate funding schemes for SMEs and entrepreneurs of MENA countries.
  • To support training schemes in order to enhance entrepreneurship skills
  • To promote and support trade activities among the clients of members.

 

3-SUSTAINABILITY

Income for covering the basic cost of maintaining the network after three years of operation is expected to come from membership fees. Until reaching this stadium of development,  grants from donors should be acquired. In addition to those incomes  MENAinc will expect to generate additional income from specific projects and programs as well as from services provided through the network, for example “Technical assistance”.

 

3.1-Technical assistance

Beside the common services (lobbying, representation, marketing the network, , identification of MENA and other international programs for incubators and technology parks activities and common project engineering), MENAinc can  offer customized services to members called "technical assistance".

 

This services will not be included in the general membership and will be invoiced according to real costs (human resources, travel expenses, ...)

 

MENAinc Technical Assistance can cover:

  • Audit of the incubators and techno parks, positioning vs. existing organization (upon request of the stakeholders, in the framework of a re-organization)
  • Implementation and follow-up of adequate quantitative and qualitative indicators and objectives in the framework of a quality system
  • To ensure a targeted transfer of skills, experience and best practices to the incubator and techno park manager or to their staff
  • For new members, accompaniment of the manager and the stakeholders in the incubator and techno park setting-up with a high level of talent pool.
  • Optimization of the incubator and techno park  business model and financing
  • Internationalization of SMEs
  • Supporting innovative entrepreneurship for local and regional development
  • Financing innovation
  • Using ICTs for the benefit of incubator and SMEs
  • Enlarging and strengthening the network outside the MENA countries

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