• Final awards ceremony for MIT Enterprise Forum took place in Muscat, Oman
  • Winning ideas include solutions that aid skills development; converts waste and soil-damaging chemical fertilizers into energy; and helps with patient after-care
  • Held in partnership with Community Jameel, Riyada, Omantel, and ZAIN Group

The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the pan-Arab region announced the winners of the 11th edition of the Arab Startup Competition, an annual event designed to support entrepreneurs in the Middle East.

The ten winners were announced during the final awards ceremony in Muscat, Oman, which was organized in partnership with Community Jameel, and Riyada, Omantel, and Zain Group. The winning ideas include solutions that aid skills development; converts waste and soil-damaging chemical fertilizers into energy; and help with patient after-care.

The ceremony attracted more than 400 investors, business entrepreneurs, media representatives and renowned public figures, such as Ahmad Al Alfi of Sawari Ventures, David Fernandez of Startup Chile, Said Al Shanfari of Omantel, Abdel Aziz Alloughani of Faith Capital Holding, and Abeer Abdullah of Riyada.

The final awards were:

Ideas Category:

  • Winner: Quirkpod, Egypt, designed an online platform that develops skills through expert-developed content and an engaging UX.
  • 1st runner up: Spike, Lebanon, helps with diabetes management via software and hardware innovations.
  • 2nd runner up: Smart Data Logger, Jordan, uses IoT and roaming cellular connections to allow real-time temperature monitoring of shipments.

Social Entrepreneurship Category:

  • Winner: Al Khudairi for biogas technology, Egypt, converts waste and soil-damaging chemical fertilizers into energy. The solution also allows the production of biomethane gas, an alternative to fill gas cylinders.
  • 1st runner up: Fabric Aid, Lebanon, implements a successful European model that gives incentives to NGOs to collect more clothing without worrying about expenses and distribution.
  • 2nd runner up: Sunbox, Palestine, introduces an affordable off-grid, self-installable small solar kit for families who suffer from electricity shortages.

Startups Category:

  • Winner: ProvenMed International, Tunisia, introduces a solution with options for restoring normal social life for patients suffering from Urine Incontinence.
  • 1st runner up: WideBot, Egypt, supports businesses to build their own chatbots.
  • 2nd runner up: Plotos, UAE, connect users to healthy and popular restaurants through an innovative user-friendly platform created and endorsed by nutrition experts.
  • 3rd runner up: Solar Foods, Sudan, a pioneering eco-friendly company in the field of food processing.

Community Jameel, a social enterprise organization that operates a wide range of initiatives to promote a positive society and economic sustainability, has been a partner of the competition for 12 consecutive years

Fady Mohammed Jameel, President of Community Jameel International, said: “At Community Jameel, we are honored to serve entrepreneurs across the region and have been delighted that our efforts have been so well received. The major success of the MITEF Pan Arab competition has been our record of translating ideas into successful businesses, and innovative concepts into stories of success. Since launching in 2006, we have provided financial support totaling almost $970,000 to over 430 technology and knowledge-based start-ups. More than 2,300 young and ambitious entrepreneurs have received high-level training by regional and world experts creating at least 2,600 new job opportunities.”

During the ceremony, Hala Fadel, Chair of the Board of MITEF Pan Arab said: “We are so proud that this year’s biggest Arab startup event is being held in Oman. This event is not only a competition, but an opportunity for top tier Arab entrepreneurs to present and share their experiences in the area of innovation and the creation and nurturing of an ecosystem for innovation within Oman.  Investing in Arab entrepreneurship will, in turn, contribute to the revitalization of the economy, and lead to the creation of new partnerships that can eventually transform into large institutions.”

The final event ceremony included a panel discussion entitled ‘Building Emerging Ecosystems’ led by Hala Fadel, Founding Member and Chair of MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, with David Fernanédz, Business intelligence at Startup Chile and Ahmed Al Alfi, Founder and Chairman at Sawari Ventures, as speakers. Another panel discussion, themed ‘What Silicon Valley investors want to see in MENA,’ was moderated by Sharifa AlBarami, Managing Director at Oman Technology Fund, with Sharif El-Badawi, Partner at 500 Startups and Tarek Fahim, Managing Partner at Endure Capital, as speakers.

Prior to the final awards ceremony, the 80 semi-finalists underwent a round of training sessions and presented their work to a jury that brought together a number of key investors and business people.

Click here for information about the 11th edition of Arab Startup Competition.

The ceremony was broadcasted live on Facebook and a video can be viewed here.