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MITEF Arab Startup Competition to announce winners

150 entrepreneurs with social impat-based startups are waiting to see if they are one of the MIT Enterprise Arab Start-up Competition winners.

In less than a week, 150 entrepreneurs with Ideas, Start-ups and Businesses with a social impact from across the Arab region will converge in Cairo on May 20, 21, and 22 for the semi-finals of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Start-up Competition, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI). The workshop will be held on the campus of the collaborating American University in Cairo’s School of Business, and the winners will be announced at the Final Award Ceremony on May 22 at six pm, which will be open to the public and followed by a networking dinner.

“We are very much looking forward to receiving the entrepreneurs in Cairo next week, where they will be able to learn more, network, share their ideas with peers and receive feedback from experts. We are empowering them through participation in a three-day MIT-style entrepreneurship Forum, and are providing them with the necessary resources to inspire and motivate them to continue their journey and grow,” says Mrs. Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum - Pan Arab Region.

“We’re delighted to yet again be able to provide a platform for young entrepreneurs to flourish with this year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Start-up Competition, a goal which is very close to our hearts at ALJCI. I am convinced we will see a lot of innovative ideas, which will have the opportunity to meet the right investor and succeed well into the future. This will increase jobs in the region, which is one of our target goals that we continue to vigorously pursue with our various initiatives every day.” said Fady Jameel, President of ALCI International.

“As entrepreneurship is one of the pillars of AUC’s School of Business, we strongly believe in developing and empowering youth to turn their ideas into a business,” said Sherif Kamel, Dean of School of Business at the American University in Cairo. “The partnership with the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region brings together the best ideas and startups of the Middle East together in one place to give youth the necessary guidance and to turn these ideas into a sustainable business,” he added.

The first day of the workshop will include a discussion on crowd funding opportunities for MENA entrepreneurs, a new trend that provides easy access to money whilst proving that there is appetite for the product or service. Following this, entrepreneurs will learn about what investors look for when financing their start-ups. A networking lunch will see investors mingle with entrepreneurs, exchanging ideas and advice, and open opportunities for investment.

With a better know-how of attracting investment opportunities, the second day will allow the entrepreneurs to focus on pitching. The one-to-one coaching will give the entrepreneurs the necessary guidance, and create a window for the organizations to pitch their services as well. Another highlight of the day is the’ Elevator Pitching Exercise’, engaging over 50 professionals from the local and regional business community, with the objective of giving the entrepreneurs the opportunity to practice their pitches and receive immediate feedback. The line-up of experts includes representatives from Strategy (Formerly Booz &Company), Google, Yahoo, TechWadi, and PepsiCo. This will ultimately prepare participants for the Final Pitches on the next day.

Starting at six pm at the American University in Cairo, the Final Award Ceremony which the public is invited to join, will commence with Final Pitches by the finalist teams of the Ideas and Start-ups Tracks, followed by the keynote speech by Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA. The two panel discussions at the closing ceremony will focus on Arab success stories going global, and the significant rise of social impact in the Arab region.

Three winners from each, the Ideas and the Start-ups tracks, will be announced throughout the day. The first place in the Ideas track will receive US$15,000, and the winner of the Start-Ups track will receive $50,000.

Three women-led start-ups will also be rewarded and sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs. Another three start-ups proving the best social impact will each receive $10,000 from Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, Mercy Corps and Skoll Foundation.