KUWAIT CITY, May 3: All eyes were on Bahrain as the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan Arab Region announced the deserving winners of the 10th MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition in a final award ceremony held at the Kingdom of Bahrain’s International Circuit on April 27. The ceremony welcomed public figures, investors, media personnel and business entrepreneurs from across the globe.
This year’s competition was organized in partnership with Community Jameel, a social enterprise organization that operates a wide range of initiatives which promote and contribute towards positive societal change and economic sustainability; Zain Group, a leading telecommunications innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa; and Tamkeen, an organization tasked with developing Bahrain’s private sector and positioning it as the key driver of economic development.
Prior to the final award ceremony, the 74 semi-finalists from 11 Arab countries underwent a round of training and presented their work over a three-day period from April 25 to the 27 to a jury that brought together some of the Arab world’s key investors and business people.
The winners selected by the jury from three tracks: Startups, Social Entrepreneurship and Ideas are:
Winner: Blink App (Egypt) — $15,000
1st Runner up: SpicaTech Acad-emy (Lebanon) — $10,000
2nd Runner up: Nano Green Hub (Egypt) — $5,000
Social Entrepreneurship Track:
Winner: Kiliim (Egypt) — $50,000
1st Runner Up: Mind Rockets (Jordan) — $10,000
2nd Runner up: Carpolo (Lebanon) — $5,000
Winner: Money Fellows (Egypt) — $50,000
1st Runner up: Trukker (UAE) — $10,000
2nd Runner up: Riego (Lebanon) — $5,000
Aside from the monetary rewards, the talented winners will also benefit from advanced training sessions, personal mentorship and guidance, as well as receiving a great deal of media coverage and excellent networking opportunities.
During the ceremony, Hala Fadel, Chair of the board of MITEF Pan Arab said, “It is time to invest more in the infrastructure that helps young people to hone and develop their entrepreneurial ideas, stressing the importance of utilizing technological innovation towards the modernization and development of tools that enable entrepreneurs to create technological solutions. This will in turn contribute to the revitalization of the economy and encourage the inauguration of partnerships that can eventually transform into large institutions that will house impeccable talent and capacities with opportunities to grow and develop.”
Fady Jameel, President of Community Jameel International, said: “We believe that investing in entrepreneurs and promoting the development of a strong ecosystem, alongside our partners, contributes to developing a stronger economy and providing opportunity through access of resources. Our collaborations allow us to provide critical support that entrepreneurs need to overcome challenges and succeed in today’s market. Our involvement with MITEF Pan Arab has been an honour, and we remain committed to helping the next generation of young entrepreneurs achieve their aspirations.”
Zain Group CEO-Operations, Scott Gegenheimer said, “As a leading innovative technology company, we are acutely aware of the positive impact innovation can have on improving the quality of life of people everywhere. Identifying and advancing entrepreneurship and the generation of new ideas as early as possible is key to bringing new concepts to commercial reality and is a big part of the reason we support the MITEF Arab Startup Competition.”
Gegenheimer added, “We believe the difference between companies and countries that will succeed into the long term, and those that underperform will be their access to and use of technology. Nurturing a culture of innovation is a fundamental requirement for sustainable growth and we extend whole-hearted congratulations to the semi-finalists and winners of this year’s Competition. I’m confident that many of these teams will succeed in translating their ideas into successful projects.”
Dr Nasser Qaedi, Planning and Business Development Executive Director in Tamkeen said, “Our support for the competition stems from our belief in its ability to inspire entrepreneurs to challenge themselves and present their ideas in a healthy competitive environment, leading them to further development and expansion. We are also so proud to gather the best entrepreneurs from the Arab region, for them to learn from each other and from the global ecosystem. We insist on technology and innovation as one of the main drivers going forward for entrepreneurship in the Arab region.”
This year’s edition, which is of special importance as it celebrated the competition’s 10th anniversary, registered years of success and excellence while serving generations of young Arabs and their creative entrepreneurial ideas.
The competition has become a highly anticipated event that is associated with success. The Arab youth who have taken part over the years have been encouraged to innovate and take charge of their entrepreneurial ideas, receiving significant support and guidance throughout.
The result, ten years later, is a renaissance of entrepreneurial initiatives, the proliferation of creative ideas and the adoption of those ideas by the public and private sectors in support of these exceptional young men and women in the Arab world.