Six teams from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have qualified for the final stages of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition 2016. A total of 76 competing teams from 15 Arab countries have reached the semi-final stage, with the Competition’s finalists and ultimate winners set to be revealed at a gala event to be held at King Abdullah Economic City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 14 April.
The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition is organized in partnership with Community Jameel, the social enterprise arm of Abdul Latif Jameel, and Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator across the Middle East and Africa. This year’s final ceremony and conference is supported by government partner the Economic Cities Authority of KSA and hosting partner the King Abdullah Economic City as well as global technology provider Huawei.
The Saudi Arabian semi-finalists span two of the Competition’s three tracks – Startup, Ideas and Social Entrepreneurship with total prize money on offer in excess of US$150,000. Each of the three tracks will award the first three ranked winners with cash prizes in addition to many other benefits including: top tier training, mentorship, coaching, media exposure, and great networking opportunities.
Both Community Jameel and Zain Saudi Arabia possess a strong affinity for youth development, entrepreneurship, and innovation, so their support of the Competition is something both entities believe aligns perfectly with their respective core values.
Fady Jameel, President of Community Jameel International commented: “At Community Jameel, we are committed to enabling the next generation of young entrepreneurs and we will remain focused on creating and enabling an environment in which young entrepreneurs can achieve their aspirations. We are proud of these six Saudi-based winners who were selected from a wealth of talents and promising entrepreneurs. It is with great pleasure that Community Jameel pledges its continuous support to the entrepreneurs in the MENA region.”
Hassan Kabbani, Zain Saudi Arabia CEO said, “We at Zain are proud to foster the growth of this competition as we recognize that much of the region’s future development will be driven by innovative youth in technology, whose ideas and their constructive and sustainable projects have been and will continue to be the success story of modern society.”
Kabbani continued, “We are happy that six Saudi Arabian teams reached the semi-finals and confident that they will perform well in the finals. We are also looking forward to interacting with this year’s aspiring entrepreneurs and taking the opportunity to capitalize on the promising innovative ideas in the digital space supporting our evolution to become a digital lifestyle provider.”
The launch of the MITEF Saudi Chapter last year provided an extra opportunity for the Saudi-based entrepreneurs to apply for the Saudi Startup Competition. The six winners from the Saudi Arabia Competition vying to make it to the final, and be crowned winners in the Startup track include Artistia, a project to have a centralized destination that features the work of artists and designers where they can have the same features of a social media interface and e-commerce making it more interactive for both the buyers and sellers. B8ak is a smartphone app-based home maintenance delivery company in Saudi Arabia, allowing users to order quality home maintenance services conveniently with only few clicks in a mobile app. Rola Badkook Establishment believes playfulness is our way back to ourselves, our beloved ones, and our education and passion thus focus on offering a unique playful experience through their products.
The three idea tracks applicants include Every Drop Counts (EDC), a real-time system which consists of a sensor device and an application to monitor and control the water usage within a single water consuming source. Kool snacks provides healthy, natural, wholesome, and easy to carry snacks being designed with no added sugar, as the sugar comes from the natural ingredient. ReBraille is a pure mechanical Braille typewriter that allows the typist to save his time and paper by typing, checking the whole text and edit it if needed before embossing the paper. In addition it can copy the same page without the need of retyping the text again.
In the lead-up to the finals, MITEF Startup Competition semi-finalists benefited from a Six Sigma training bootcamp’s program that were held in four cities across the region.