MENA Startups Soar High At MIT Enterprise Forum's 12th Arab Startup Competition
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The MIT Enterprise Forum concluded its 12th edition of its Arab Startup Competition in Beirut, Lebanon, on March 28-29, 2019. Gathering venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and industry leaders, on March 29, the conference launched its inaugural annual impact report titled, Twelve years of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition: Unravelling the Entrepreneurship Maturity Index. Semi finalists also showcased their products and solutions during the exhibition.
On the competition’s significance, as MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab continues to strive to invigorate the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Fadel commented, “Our 150 semifinalists from 12 different countries, and many women among them show how entrepreneurs in our region will lead the way towards change. This year we published for the first time an impact report and our competition has contributed to the creation of 14,000 jobs in our region, contributed 415 million dollars to the Arab world’s GDP, and shifted the mindset of thousands of Arabs. We are grateful to the many partners who supported this initiative.”
MITEF Pan Arab's Hala Fadel (in center) with other dignitaries at the 12th Arab Startup Competition in Beirut.
Prior to the final round, 65 semifinalists attended a two-day preparatory bootcamp training at ZINC in Amman, Jordan on February 26-27 for sessions on starting, running and scaling a business in the region. On March 28, teams had the opportunity to leverage mentorship sessions on fundraising, enhancing user acquisition, legal frameworks, marketing strategy and social impact. Following these sessions, 29 finalists were selected to undergo through two final rounds of judging wherein they pitched their concepts and solutions to a panel of judges, with nine final winners announced across its three tracks- Ideas, Startups and Social Entrepreneurship.
Beating out applications from across the region, on the Startups Track, Palestine-born startup Mashvisor, an online platform that automates and analyzes nationwide real estate data to enable investors to source investment properties according to their rental performance, bagged the first place. Winners received a total sum of US$160,000 in an equity free fund and have access to a range of benefits including trainings, mentorships, coaching, media exposure and networking opportunities.
This year's edition of the competition was held in partnership with Community Jameel, The World Bank, Touch, Investment Development Authority of Lebanon, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, CMA CGM, Beirut Digital District and Roland Berger.
MEET THE WINNERS OF THE 12TH ARAB STARTUP COMPETITION
First place: Quadra from Lebanon
First runner up: ADDENDA from UAE
Second runner up: DLOC Biosystems from Lebanon
Social Entrepreneurship Track
First place: Compost Baladi from Lebanon
First runner up: Ahmini from Tunisia
Second runner up: CanBank from Egypt