UAE. Fourteen teams including the brightest entrepreneurial minds in the Middle East are heading to Dubai this month for the final decision-making in the fifth annual Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJ) and a joint initiative with Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST).
The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Trade, HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, heads the six-person jury tasked with selecting three winning business plans, which will receive start-up funding including a USD $50,000 first prize, a USD $10,000 second prize, and a USD $5,000 third prize. A special prize of USD $15,000 for the Best Woman Entrepreneur will also be presented as part of the final award ceremony in Dubai on 28 June.
Of the fourteen finalist teams selected from more than 4500 applications received, seven are from Egypt, three are from Lebanon, two from Palestine, and one team each hail from Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
Half of the final business plans include technology or telecommunications start-ups, while media, social networks and agriculture make up the other fledgling business schemes vying for seed capital in the 2012 MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition.
“The Arab world has a pressing need for innovation and job creation – both of these issues are dynamically addressed by the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition. The number of applications we have received during the last few years has doubled annually, underscoring the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Middle East and the platform that we have established to showcase the bright ideas emanating from more than 20 countries in this region,” said Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region.
Joining HE Sheikha Lubna on the jury for the fifth annual MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition are Rashid Al Ballaa, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of National Net Ventures (N2V); Ali Al-Husry, Chairman of Endeavor Jordan; Said Darwazah, Chief Executive Officer of Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC; Ossama Hassanein, Chairman of Techwadi; and Fred Sicre, partner at Abraaj Capital.
The fourteen finalist teams rehearse their new business pitch presentations for a full day on June 27 with Ihab Khalil, Senior Associate and Chady Zein, Principal at Booz & Co before pitching their business plans in front of the jury on June 28th, with the winners named that evening at an awards ceremony at the Meydan, Dubai.
The Final Award Ceremony will take place on June 28th at the Meydan IMAX Theatre, Dubai. The ceremony will include a keynote address by HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, in addition to panel discussions from regional business leaders. A great networking opportunity, the event is open to the public and is free of charge.
To RSVP please log onto: http://miteffinalawardceremonydubai.eventbrite.com/
The annual Arab Business Plan Competition is among the key initiatives developed by MIT Enterprise Forum, which aims to develop and nurture a culture of entrepreneurship across the Arab region by providing a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, showcasing new concepts, and the coaching and mentorship of the next generation of entrepreneurs. More than 200 new companies have been created through the competition, developing employment opportunities for hundreds of young entrepreneurs in the Middle East since 2006.
More information can be found at: http://www.mitarabcompetition.com
Photo: Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region.
About the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region
The MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region is one of the 11 international chapters of the MIT Enterprise Forum Global, which is headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. It has a proven record in promoting MIT-style entrepreneurship by organizing and managing each year the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition in partnership with ALJ Community Initiatives and a joint initiative with GIST, targeting 21 countries of the Arab region and bringing in more than 4,000 applications a year.
About Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJ)
Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives is committed to the development of the Arab region. Mohammad Abdul Latif Jameel, President of ALJ Co. and an MIT alumnus from the class of 78, believes this partnership “reflects our belief in young entrepreneurs as future leaders in the Arab world. Entrepreneurship education and promotion are fundamental for a healthy and growing Arab ecosystem able and willing to create new jobs, and this Competition is at the heart of it”.
About Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST)
The Global Innovation through Science and Technology initiative was established in 2010, with funding from the U.S. Department of State, to spur economic advancement through science and technology-based innovation in countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.