(Press Release) - The MIT Enterprise Forum (MIT EF) of the Pan Arab Region is proud to announce the results of semi-finalists
of the 11thedition of its competition. The MITEF Arab startup competition, in partnership with Community Jameel, will be held in Oman on April 19. Community Jameel, a social enterprise organization that operates a wide range of initiatives to promote a positive society and economic sustainability, has been a founding partner for 10 consecutive years and Zain Group as the competition’s digital partner for the last 4 years.
As local support and engagement in Oman is always very important, strategic partners this year include Riyada, the competition’s governmental backbone, and Omantel, the country’s leading telecom entity and key contributor and supporter.
This year’s edition, that was open for applications between September 3 and December 5, 2017, witnessed an impressive participation, with more than 5,300 applications including Saudi Arabia, which runs a parallel competition. The submitted projects came from a variety of sectors, such as internet services, software, education, healthcare and creative industries.
The semi-finalists hailed from 14 Arab countries, as follows: Lebanon (20), Egypt (14), the United Arab Emirates (10), Saudi Arabia (9), Jordan (7), Palestine (6), Morocco (4), Tunisia (6), Bahrain (2), Sudan (2), Kuwait (1), Qatar (1), Algeria (1), Oman (1).
As in previous years, the competition includes three tracks - the Ideas track, the Startup track, and the Social Entrepreneurship track, with respectively 26, 34 and 24 semi-finalist projects in each one of them. Each project includes a team of at least three people bringing the number of Arab entrepreneurs coming to Oman in April to over 200.
All 84 teams will participate in pre-boot camps in February and March in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Nine winning teams from the MIT EF Saudi Competition will be announced in March, and will be part of the list of the Pan Arab semifinalists.
This year's edition is yet another annual competition that celebrates Arab innovators, who see it as a platform to showcase, test and develop their creative ideas and skills. Cash prizes exceeding USD 160,000 will be distributed among the nine lucky winners, three per track. Beyond the cash prizes, all 84 semifinalists will benefit from advanced training sessions, personal mentorship and guidance, as well as media visibility, and excellent networking opportunities.
Hala Fadel, Chair of the board of MIT EF Pan Arab, commented on this year’s edition by saying: “Every year, our confidence and belief in the importance of this competition grows in its role in supporting and nurturing the culture of entrepreneurship. Developing the ideas and projects of the Arab youth and empowering them to transform these pioneering ideas into success stories couldn’t make us prouder.”
Fady Jameel, President of Community Jameel International, commented on the semifinals saying: "We are happy to give the opportunity for innovation and creativity across the Arab world. We see new promising business models each year, all coming from diverse backgrounds. This reinforces the fact that the Arab world is full of talent and creativity. Community Jameel has offered full support to this successful Arab event for 11 consecutive years now, and remains true to its commitment to see it through. As it has been the case in previous years, our strong belief in this competition continues, as we strive to encourage an environment where new ideas flourish and projects are implemented not only in the Arab region but internationally. The generation of young Arabs deserves our full support to realize their hopes and bring their aspirations to life.”
Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO-Operations commented, "Over the years we have reinforced our belief in the youth of our region, and displayed our passion for offering them the opportunities to attain their goals. This competition has become an established platform to foster innovation and youth development, and we are proud to again confirm our support of this renowned event. We look forward to tracking the progress being made by the participants at the various stages of the competition, building towards the selection of the final shortlist and winners. Supporting such events perfectly aligns to Zain’s aspirations in becoming a digital lifestyle operator."
The MIT Arab Startup Competition will culminate in a two-day event on April 18 and 19, 2018 in Oman, with the announcement of this year’s winners, set to take place during the final award ceremony.