This is it!

After running the MITEF Arab Startup Competition over the course of 12 years, we are back with yet another edition: Lead for a Better World.

Today, we officially launch the 13th edition of the Arab Startup Competition #ASC2020, with an online call for applications inviting entrepreneurs from all industries and sectors to apply to the MENA region’s longest-running annual competition designed to support and celebrate innovations emanating from the Arab world.

Over the past editions, the competition has awarded over 1.24M dollars in equity-free prizes to winning entrepreneurs and provided them with an avenue to exhibit and apply their ideas.

The competition is held in partnership with Community Jameel, a global philanthropy that operates a wide range of initiatives that promote and contribute towards positive social change and economic sustainability.

Registration for the competition opened on 10 September 2019 on the competition’s official website (

The deadline for applications is 10 December 2019. MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab will be running a series of roadshows to introduce entrepreneurs to the competition and support them in the application process. Interested candidates can sign up for the upcoming online roadshow by following this link, as well as the roadshow to be held in Beirut on September 24.

MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition has evolved into an annual occurrence that is awaited by thousands of young Arab entrepreneurs, who see it as a platform that allows them to showcase, test and develop their creative and innovative ideas. Each year, the competition incorporates three tracks: The Ideas track, the Startups track and the Social Entrepreneurship track, with cumulative cash prizes of $120,000. The teams that qualify for the semi-finals will participate in a preparatory boot camp which includes training sessions, mentorship, coaching, and workshops.

During the final stages of the competition, the judging committee will select 9 final winners (3 for each of the tracks).

Commenting on the launch of the 13th edition of MITEF’s Arab Startup Competition, Hala Fadel, Chair of the board of MITEF Pan Arab said: 'During last year’s award ceremony, I had mentioned that I have hope for this region. Today, as we launch the 13th edition I invite all Arab innovators to ‘walk the walk’ and lead for a better world. The Arab Startup Competition has grown to not only represent a platform from which Arab entrepreneurs showcase their businesses, but also one which allows the exchange of world-changing ideas and impactful innovations. I have no doubt that this year’s applicants will bring groundbreaking ideas to the competition. I want to thank Community Jameel, our partner since the start, for supporting us in this journey over the past 13 years.'

Fady Jameel, President, International of Community Jameel commented: “The Arab Startup Competition celebrates and recognises entrepreneurship across the Arab World with more than 2,400 Arab entrepreneurs trained and empowered, and a total of 430 startups established across the region over the last 12 years."

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are central to Community Jameel's mission, and key pillars of competitive and dynamic economies. We aim with the 13th edition of the Arab Startup Competition to power young Arab entrepreneurs and highlight their value to our region’s economy and beyond.”

MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition will culminate with a conference and final award ceremony organized in April 2020 where the winners will be announced in an official awards ceremony.

The impact of the Arab Startup Competition over the past 13 years

  • MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab trained and empowered more than 2,400 Arab entrepreneurs
  • A total of 430 startups were established across the MENA
  • Increase in percentage of submitted applications between 1st and 12th edition: 302%
  • 50% of all the semi-finalists teams had at least 1 female leading member
  • Winners received a sum of USD 1,240,000 in equity-free investment

For more information on this year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition registration process, eligibility, and judging criteria, please visit: #ASC2020 #MITEFArab

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