All Eyes On Beirut: MIT Enterprise Forum To Honor Innovators Of 12th Arab Startup Competition
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The countdown begins as MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF), Pan Arab Region will be finally unveiling the much-awaited winners' list of the 2018-2019 edition of the Arab Startup Competition in its final ceremony at the Hilton Habtoor Grand Hotel, Beirut. Much more than just an awards night, the event which will be held on March 29, will also feature panel discussions and audience Q&A sessions. From getting the opportunity to meet industry leaders, understanding what VCs want and pitfalls startups should avoid, to learning about MITEF’s Innovate for Refugees and Arab World Meets Silicon Valley programs, there are many reasons to attend the 12th Arav Startup Competition.
A few of the sessions that are worth keeping an eye include panel discussions on the role of governments in fostering growth of digital economies, leveraging AI in education to prepare for the future workforce, and how deep learning is shifting digital economies, among others. An exciting and unparalleled speaker line-up awaits, some of which include Hala Fadel, Chair, MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab region; Huma Abidi, Director of Deep Learning, Machine Learning & Software Engineering, Intel; Ferid Belhaj, Vice President MENA, The World Bank; Nashwa Aly, Head of Public Policy for MENA, Facebook; Rob Mccargow, Director of AI, PwC UK, and Prof. Charbel Farhat, Chairman, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics ,Stanford University.
The annual Arab Startup Competition (ASC) allows entrepreneurs from various stages and sectors to showcase, test and pitch their prototypes across three tracks: the Ideas track, the Startups track and the Social Entrepreneurship track, with cash prizes worth US$160,000 up for grabs. For this edition, the ASC had received over 4000 initial applicants, from which the 67 semi-finalists who had qualified, attended pre-boot camp training in Amman, Jordan this February 26-27, on business modelling, customer mapping, and venture scaleup in preparation for the finals. The big day will commence with the innovators exhibiting their projects and presenting their businesses to a global audience. Winners will be honored with cash prizes, media exposure, and exceptional networking opportunities.
Hala Fadel, Chair of the Board of MITEF Pan Arab, commends how the competitions provides an avenue for growth for entrepreneurs. “Throughout the last twelve years, we have seen a growing Arab startup scene, with an increasing number of entrepreneurs applying for this particular competition, who not only want to launch a business, but who want to stand out from the crowd.” This year’s competition involves the collaborative efforts of several ecosystem stakeholders like Community Jameel, The World Bank, Touch, Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Beirut Digital District, CMA, CGM, and Roland Berger.
In this year’s gala event, MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab will also publicly launch its inaugural annual impact report, which explains how ASC has contributed to the Arab economy over the past 12 years and introduce a new Arab Entrepreneurship Maturity Index. For more details on the event, head over to its official website here.