King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) hosts the MITEF Saudi Startup Competition this year

The 45 semi-finalists teams are announced :

  • This year’s edition attracted more than 1500 participants
  • winners will be announced on March 7, 2020 at King Abdullah Economic City
  • Cash awards for winners totaling 325,000 Saudi riyals

Jeddah – Saudi Arabia, January 22, 2020: MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Saudi Arabia, part of the MIT Enterprise Forum global network and partner of Bab Rizq Jameel, one of Community Jameel’s initiative, announced a new collaboration with King Abdullah Economic City, whereby the City will be the strategic partner for the 4th edition of the MITEF Saudi Startup Competition.

Compared to previous editions, this year’s MITEF Saudi Startup Competition has witnessed remarkable progress in terms of quality of entries. The total number of applicants since the launch of the competition in 2015 reached more than 6000 participants, and 24 winning teams. More than 320 local and Arab business experts and academics have participated in the judging process and the StartSmart conference in which winners are announced.

Speaking on the occasion of the signing of the partnership agreement, Mr. Ahmed bin Ibrahim Linjawi, CEO of King Abdullah Economic City, stated: “This partnership reflects KAEC’s continuing efforts to promote the road map aimed at creating an attractive and stimulating environment that enables small and medium enterprises to raise their contribution to local production from 20% to 35% by 2030. Within this strategic partnership, we will work with the MIT Forum to strengthen the role of this vital sector in achieving the development goals as envisaged by the Kingdom's 2030 vision, which emphasized the great role of entrepreneurs as the future economic power”.

He added: “In collaboration with Bab Rizq Jameel, the annual MITEF Saudi Startup Competition is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. MITEF offers an invaluable opportunity to cultivate innovative projects into scalable initiatives, with teams comprised of some of the most talented participants in the region. Supporting entrepreneurs is one of the tenets of Community Jameel’s vision and part of our country’s continuous efforts to motivate young entrepreneurs and their ideas to help build their career paths and achieve excellence. Youth is the key element in enhancing the Saudi start-up environment and promoting the Kingdom’s economic standing worldwide.”

A judging panel of 46 business experts and academics from all over the world assessed more than 560 entries represented by 1,680 entrepreneurs in the light of the competition's criteria, namely creativity, potential to expand beyond local markets, and making a positive impact on society.

Commenting on this, Hussein Mohammed Jameel, Managing Director, Abdul Latif Jameel said: “MITEF Saudi Arabia is proud of this constructive strategic partnership with KAEC, as part of the two sides’ efforts to provide a stimulating environment for business by supporting innovative initiatives and encouraging entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia."

Commenting on this, Hussein Mohammed Jameel, Managing Director, Abdul Latif Jameel said: “MITEF Saudi Arabia is proud of this constructive strategic partnership with KAEC, as part of the two sides’ efforts to provide a stimulating environment for business by supporting innovative initiatives and encouraging entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia."

Following the training camp that will be held at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) from March 1-3, 2020, the second round judging will take place on March 4, 2020 to announce the 27 finalist teams. The winners will be named at the StartSmart Conference on March 7, 2020 after holding the third round judging at the same morning in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

As a prerequisite for qualification, applicants must submit an innovative, scalable project capable of making a positive impact on community. The participating teams must be composed of at least two members, one of whom is a Saudi national. The competition is run in three tracks – startups, social enterprise, and ideas. The 15 semi-finalists in each category are:

• Start-ups Track: Bondai, SaNoor, Dr. GenatiX, Workhint, Telp, Rehla, Grinta Hub, Fruits 360, Protein, Igarage, Ri7laty, TeamUp, Ejaro, GetMuv, and GROA.
• Social Track: Scientific Saudi, Waste turn, Saudi Nomad, NABATIK, Al Moheet, Saudi Youth Ambassadors Group, Jaleesa, Aya Animations, Uplift, Balsam, Teko, Al-Manahej, Hayati Sukkar, Maya Clinic app, and Brain AI.
• Ideas: Tarteel, Hakini, WiSensing, Uvera, Ghallah, AKGAPP, Arsa, Rshed, Glamour Express, DormAg, iCashier App, Arabi, Firnas Aero, Dawrq and Artboards.

The MITEF Saudi Startups Competition is proud to attract this year distinguished entrepreneurs in different fields. This year’s competition focuses on investing in startups and small businesses by organizing the Startup Investment Forum from March 5 to 7, 2020 and gathering the elite among the most emerging companies from Saudi Arabia and the Arab world.

The MITEF Startups Competition is supported by a large number of governmental and non-governmental entities such as the King Abdullah Economic City (strategic partner), the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority (official partner), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (innovation partner), Prince Muhammad bin Salman College (knowledge partner), Aero (technical partner), and EY (mentoring partner). Media partners include Entrepreneur ME, MIT Technology Review, and Destination Saudi Arabia; in addition to finally MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab as our regional partner.

It is our ambition for MITEF Startups Competition to be a real incubator for achieving the vision of the Kingdom 2030. 

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