Over the course of two days, 67 MIT Enterprise Arab Startup Competition semifinalist teams participated in an intensive prebootcamp training, in preparation for the final round of judging which will happen in Beirut on March 28-29. The prebootcamp training took place at the Grand Hyatt Amman Hotel, Jordan.

Each semifinalist team received a tailored training experience based on the track they applied for (Either Startups Track, Ideas Track, or Social Entrepreneurship Track). The official breakdown of the schedule is mentioned in this blog post.

On March 27, the semifinalists met with forty mentors from various backgrounds, industries, and expertise. During this mentorship activity, semifinalist teams pitched their projects to the mentors in a laid back environment, received live feedback, and learned a few tips and tricks on how to perfect pitching towards securing potential funding rounds and partnerships.

Moreover, members from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) gave a session titled ‘Tapping into the potential of Saudi entrepreneurial ecosystem’, given that many of the region’s startups have plans to expand into the kingdom.

Afterwards, the semifinalist teams received a common session titled ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of a Pitch’, where they received hands-on training on public speaking, communicating an idea, and what to include in a pitch deck. The teams practiced pitching in front of their peers in an effort to give honest feedback.

The prebootcamp training was given by the following experts:

  • Amal Dokhan - Managing Director, Babson Global Center of Entrepreneurial Leadership – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Ozan Sonmez - Managing Director, Growth Circuit VC/ Accelerator – San Francisco, USA
  • Abdulrahman AlJiffry – Program Development Lead, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology – Entrepreneurship Center – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Sertac Yakin - Marketing and Growth Director at Connected2.me & Wondr

The entrepreneurs were immensely serious about the training and were all cooperating with each other in a collaborative team-building manner.

Also, MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab is proud to have recently signed new partnership agreements with each of Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL), CMA CGM, and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

The new partnerships highlight the emerging importance of entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration between corporation and startups.

Maya Rahal, Managing Director of MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab remarked: “Once again, the Arab Startup Competition boot camps have proven to be the ultimate meetup for our semifinalist teams as they bootstrap for the finals in Beirut. This year in Amman, over 100 aspiring entrepreneurs are learning about the fundamentals of starting and running a company. Leading industries this edition are deep technology, creative industry, and edtech. We are especially fortunate to have IDAL, CMA CGM, and KAUST join us as supporting partners for the 12th edition of Arab Startup Competition, highlighting the competition’s leading role in empowering Arab entrepreneurs to realize their full economic potential.”

Emre Gurkan, Chief Executive Officer of touch commented, “Our collaboration with MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Association complements our own efforts to build a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, following the company’s journey to become the Digital Network Accelerator, and in alignment with our Corporate Sustainability program Positive touch pillar of youth and innovation. We truly believe that Lebanon’s startup landscape has the potential to shape the future of both our country and the region. MITEF opens doors for these driven young entrepreneurs while also helping them unleash their innovative ideas and exposing them to a wider audience.”

Commenting on the new partnership, Mr. Nabil Itani, Chairman and General Manager at IDAL-Investment Development Authority of Lebanon said: “We believe in the Lebanese youth, their entrepreneurial drive and innovative capabilities. The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon is committed to supporting [Lebanese entrepreneurs] initiatives in order to accompany them towards the technological revolution wave that Lebanon needs. We are very proud of this collaboration with MITEF, and we are confident that this platform will provide Lebanese innovative minds the push they deserve in life with the support of both the public and the private sector combined”.

In addition, Joseph Dakkak, General Manager of Merit Corporation, CMA CGM Lebanon and the Levant Regional office said: “Digitalization is one of the pillars of CMA CGM’s development. We are happy to partner with the MITEF Arab Startup Competition as we continue to support digital transformation in Lebanon and the region through our various initiatives. We are fully invested in the development of local and regional startups and count on their creativity and disruptive ideas to continuously adapt our business and strategy”

Addressing the new partnership between KAUST and MITEF Pan Arab, Hattan Ahmed, Head of the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST said: “We are proud to be partnering with MIT Enterprise Forum, one the longest standing entrepreneurship programs in the Middle East and a key component of the local startup ecosystem. At KAUST we work with high tech startups to solve some of the most pressing global challenges. In the semifinals, this year have two KAUST spinouts, Oaesis and iyris, working on solutions in agriculture technology and renewable energy. KAUST startups have always been active participants in MITEF, leveraging the platform for wider outreach.”

The competition will culminate in a conference, to be held in Beirut on March 29. Registration to attend is currently open on the official website www.mitarabcompetition.com

Stay tuned for future updates and announcements #ASC2019 #MITEFArab

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