MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Startup Competition Winners to be Announced April 19 in Muscat, Oman

  • 80 semi-finalists from 14 countries competing for 160,000 USD in cash prizes for top nine
  • Award ceremony preceded by high-powered conference on MENA Ecosystems
  • In partnership with Community Jameel, and collaboration with strategic partners Riyada, Omantel, and Zain Group as a digital partner

MUSCAT, OmanKUWAIT CITY and BEIRUT, Lebanon: PRNewswire: The MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab will host the final award ceremony of the 11th edition of its Arab Startup Competition on April 19, 2018, at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hall 2, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

This year’s event is in partnership with founding partner Community Jameel, and in collaboration with strategic partners Riyada, Omantel, and Zain Group as a digital partner.

A total of 80 teams from 14 Arab countries have qualified to the finals of the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Arab Startup Competition, which received thousands of applications from across the Arab world. The semi-finalists hail from 14 Arab countries, as follows: Lebanon (19), Egypt (13), the United Arab Emirates (8), Saudi Arabia (9), Jordan (7), Palestine (6), Morocco (4), Tunisia (5), Bahrain (2), Sudan (2), Kuwait (1), Qatar (1), Algeria (1), Oman (1).

The teams applied for three tracks: Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship. Three winners will be chosen from each of the three tracks, and a total of 160,000 USD will be awarded amongst the nine winners.

During the two days event, the semi-finalists will undergo training sessions focused on the art of pitching. The teams will practice their pitching skills and pitch decks in front of the trainers, and attend sessions on the “do’s and don’ts” of a pitch, communication skills, and body language in order to be prepared for their oral presentations.

In addition to a mentorship activity where semi-finalists will have the chance to pitch their projects to 80+ stakeholders and partners from different expertise and backgrounds. These experts will give live feedback to the teams and share their experience in the business world. During this activity, teams will be exposed to different opportunities: coaching, mentorship, networking, and potential funding.

The Award Ceremony is preceded by a high-powered conference, including two panel discussions entitled Building Emerging Ecosystems and What Silicon Valley investors want to see in MENA.

Several high-profile entrepreneurs, investors, and government officials from across the Arab region and beyond will be sharing insights during the conference and judging the competition. These include Ahmad Al Alfi of Sawari Ventures, David Fernandez of Startup Chile, Said Al Shanfari of Omantel, Abdel Aziz Alloughani of Faith Capital Holding, and Abeer Abdullah of Riyada.

“We are so proud that this year’s biggest Arab startup event is being held in Oman. This event is not only a competition, but an opportunity for top tier Arab entrepreneurs to present and share their experiences in the area of innovation and the creation and nurturing of an ecosystem for innovation within Oman.  Investing in Arab entrepreneurship will, in turn, contribute to the revitalization of the economy, and lead to the creation of new partnerships that can eventually transform into large institutions,” said Hala Fadel, MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Chair and Managing Director.

Dr Ahmed Al-Ghassani, Riyada’s CEO for Public Authority for SMEs Development, said, “MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab 11th edition of the Arab Startup Competition sheds light on entrepreneurship in the Arab countries. We, at Riyada, strongly believe in the importance of partnership that reinforces SMEs competitiveness capacities, thus encouraging innovation, the application of best practices, and the use of modern technologies. The forum is organized in cooperation with Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the National Youth Committee and the Oman Technology Fund, with a view to attracting entrepreneurs, stakeholders, investors, and top specialized companies in entrepreneurship to Oman. This will be an opportunity for Omani SMEs to share the knowledge, experience and resources that contribute to opening new horizons for their projects.

“Entrepreneurship is a very important field because of its vital role in achieving economic growth,” said Talal Bin Saeed Al Mamari, CEO of Omantel. “Omantel strives to support entrepreneurs and startups. Our vision is in accordance with Oman’s global vision to support small and medium enterprises and create an environment conducive to local investment. We are delighted that Oman is hosting the final award ceremony of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup 11th edition, a competition that, since its launch, proved to be effective in inspiring Arab innovators and entrepreneurs and helping them in establishing their own startups. Such startups are an important tool for economic prosperity in their country. We come together to honor Arab ambitious youth who aspire to support their communities and countries.”

Ahead of the training sessions planned to be held in Oman on April 18 and 19, pre-bootcamps were organized in five different countries: EgyptJordanLebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. During these pre-bootcamps, the 80 semi-finalists underwent design-thinking sessions and practiced their pitching to mentors from different institutions and fields, to fine-tune their deliverables which they will present to judges on April 18 and 19.

About MITEF Pan Arab:

Founded in 2005, the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region is one of the 28 worldwide chapters of the MIT Enterprise Forum Global, an avid promoter of entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. The MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab has a proven record in promoting MIT-style entrepreneurship by organizing each year the MITEF Arab Startup Competition targeting 21 countries of the Arab region and attracting over 12,000 entrepreneurs a year.

About Community Jameel:

Established in 2003, Community Jameel is a social enterprise organisation that operates a wide range of initiatives to promote a positive society and economic sustainability. From individual, community and Arab life as a whole, in Saudi Arabia and beyond, Community Jameel promotes Arab arts and culture in the Middle East and around the world, works against unemployment, enables research for poverty alleviation and food and water security, and provides education and training opportunities. Community Jameel supports and partners with global institutions, which employ hundreds of people, all aiming to provide people with opportunities and training in the following areas: Job Creation – Bab Rizq Jameel; Arts and Culture – Art Jameel; Global Poverty Alleviation; Food and Water Security; Education and Training; and Health and Social

About Riyada:

The Public Authority for Small & Medium Enterprises Development (Riyada) is the Sultanate of Oman’s arm for the development of small and medium enterprises and the strengthening of their contribution to the local economy through a wide range of business advisory services and training programs. Riyada was established as the Public Authority for Small & Medium Enterprises Development as per Royal Decree No. 36/2013, whereby it enjoys financial and administrative autonomy and is headquartered in the Muscat Governorate with the right to establish branches in other governorates according to a resolution from its board of directors.

About Omantel:

Investing in the future of the nation, Omantel connects even the most remote communities of the Sultanate to each other and the rest of the world. Omantel is the Sultanate’s first integrated telecommunications services provider, enabling the digital society to flourish, allowing new ways of doing business and delivering a world of information, news and entertainment. Today, Omantel boldly innovates to deliver the highest levels of customer satisfaction, the broadest and most reliable nationwide network while investing for Oman’s future development.

About Zain Group:

Zain is a leading communications operator across the Middle East and North Africa providing mobile voice and data services to over 46.6 million active customers as of 31 December 2017. With a commercial presence in 8 countries, Zain operates in the following countries: BahrainIraqJordanKuwaitSaudi ArabiaSudan and South Sudan. In Lebanon, the company manages ‘touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in Wana Telecom, now branded ‘INWI’, through a joint venture. Zain is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (stock ticker: ZAIN).