For the fourth consecutive year, Zain Group will be the digital partner of 2018 MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab Startup Competition in partnership with Community Jameel, a social enterprise organization that operates a wide range of initiatives that promote and contribute towards positive societal change and economic sustainability. The registration is open until December 5, 2017, accessible here: www.mitarabcompetition.com and the finals will be held in April 2018 in the Sultanate of Oman.
This year’s edition sees the addition of Oman based strategic partners ‘Riyada’, the Sultanate’s Public Authority for Small & Medium Enterprises Development; Omantel, the Sultanate’s leading integrated telecommunications provider; as well as the Oman Technology Fund, whose aim is to make Oman an innovation hub in the region and position the Sultanate as the preferred destination for national and international entrepreneurs, investing in related incubator, accelerator and global VC programs.
Last year, on its 10th anniversary, the prestigious competition witnessed an unprecedented increase in the number of applications from across the Arab world, up 39% from the year before. The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition has evolved into an annual occurrence that is awaited by thousands of young Arabs, who see it as a platform that allows them to showcase, test and develop their creative and pioneering ideas.
Each year, the competition incorporates three tracks: the Ideas track, the Startups track and the Social Entrepreneurship track, with cumulative cash prizes of $160,000. The teams that qualify for the semi-finals will be invited to participate in preparatory activities that compromise trainings and workshops. The timing and location will be announced at a later stage.
In the final stages of the competition, the most promising teams will be crowned winners from each of the three tracks. In addition to monetary rewards, winners will also benefit from advanced training sessions, personal mentorship and guidance, not to mention receiving significant media coverage and excellent networking opportunities.
Bader Al Kharafi, Zain Vice Chairman and Group CEO said, “We continue to support this competition as Zain believes in championing the regional digital startup ecosystem, from where the next technology or smartphone app to change our industry or the world may be developed. Fostering innovative young entrepreneurs to achieve their aspirations aligns with our corporate sustainability goals and we are keen to explore the opportunity to capitalize on the most promising ideas to support our digital lifestyle operator ambitions.”
Hala Fadel, Chair of the board of MITEF Pan Arab expressed her deep content with the status of this competition in the Arab world and its positive contribution to fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and a community of entrepreneurs. She elaborated on its crucial support and constructive approach towards young Arab’s pioneering ideas, some of which have become international success stories. She said, “Following the competition’s tenth anniversary last year, we are very excited to be embarking on another decade of innovation. The region graduates over 300,000 engineers every year, that’s three times as much as California. Talent in this region is here and ready to innovate and we are here to support these talented young men and women. The closing ceremony will be held in Sultanate of Oman thus being the incubator for hundreds of young people and entrepreneurs in their journey towards discovery, development and success.”
Fady Jameel, President of Community Jameel International, said “We thank the Sultanate of Oman for hosting the closing ceremony of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition. The annual competition continues to play a key role in creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the region, and Community Jameel is delighted to again support its already excellent reputation. We look forward to further developing entrepreneurship in the Arab region by promoting dialogue on how entrepreneurship can be encouraged, developing innovation and discussing the challenges that young men and women may face in the future.”
Said Salem Al Shanfari, General Manager of Marketing Communications and Performance at Omantel said, “Startups are instrumental to the growth of economies and immensely contribute to the creation of jobs. Omantel is pleased to be associated with MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab to support entrepreneurs who are creating such opportunities for our community. We continue to support and further such initiatives that enrich the lives of the community and also complement our service offerings to customers.”
Al Shanfari added, “Our alliance with Zain will create even more diversified offerings bringing us closer to the goal of being a digital service provider that enables a truly connected and empowered society.”
Khalid AlHaribi, acting CEO at Riyada said, “This collaboration is a sign of a positive transformation, especially in terms of the competitiveness of Omani Enterprises. MITEF is a world-renowned forum that has established excellent partnerships with public institutions such as Riyada and NYC in addition to associating with strategic stakeholders from the private sector such as Omantel and OTF. We hope that the exchange of knowledge, expertise and resources between entrepreneurs, organizations and investors will usher a new era of scaling up local enterprises.”
Hanan Askalan, Board Member of Oman Technology Fund and Chair of IC Wadi accelerator said, “We are beyond excited to be partnering with leading entities and bringing this highly esteemed event to Oman.”
The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition will conclude with an event organized over the course of three days in April 2018 where the winners will be announced in an official awards ceremony to be held in Muscat, Oman.