45 semifinalists named in MITEF Saudi Startup Competition


FORTY-FIVE semifinalists for the 2018 MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Saudi Arabia Startup competition have been chosen from more than 2,500 entries.

The judging panel of 60 business experts and academics from Saudi Arabia and the Arab world assessed applicants’ business models, particularly creativity, potential to expand beyond local markets, long-term financial sustainability and making a positive impact on society.

The competition, now in its third year, is in three categories — startups, social enterprise, and ideas. The 15 semifinalists in each category are:

Startups — Sihatech.com, Quantum Solutions, Ranam, Fixtag, Upositive, Majalisapp.com, Maharah, Hadiya Registry, Shakl 3D Printing Service and Marketplace, Juleb, Ironix Comix, Avocado, Fasil, Twetso, Live the Adventure.

Social enterprise — Mathaq, Red Sea Channel, Blooming Bs, Rofoof, Aquaponica, Maya Clinic, I have a dream, Labayh, Fun time center for children's hospitality, perfection & selection, Qout, Farmer shop, The Vid Platform for Poverty Treatment, Bassmatna initiative, Mutajamie T.

Ideas — Electronic cafeteria, Dulab, Pro Care, Osta, Money Cloud, Qisma, Cucumber, Derma now application, Leo’s Lounge, Parking, Bank You So Much.com, AGS Co. Ltd, The Lawyer, Bihob Nara’ahoum initiative, and an electronic control system to help kidney patients.

The second round of judging will take place in February when the 27 finalist teams will be chosen. The winners will be announced in Riyadh on March 3, after the third round of judging. The closing ceremony will be honored by Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, minister of commerce and investment.

MITEF Saudi Startup Competition is organized by Community Jameel’s Bab Rizq Jameel initiative in partnership with Zain Saudi Arabia and Dulani Business Center, under the theme ‘Create your Tomorrow’.

Eng. Mohammed Yahia Hakami, executive director, international initiatives and business development at Community Jameel, said: “The announcement of semifinalists is a definitive stage of the competition, which has become one of the most important events in Saudi Arabia in its impact on spreading the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Saudi and across the entire Middle East region.”

Sultan AlShahrani, chief human resources and communication officer at Zain Saudi Arabia, said: “The judging panel comprises business experts, specialists, and academics in the most advanced fields to assess project concepts and ideas and seeking to convert these to real projects for a better future.”

Eng. Ali Sayyar, general manager of Dulani Business Centre, said: “This competition is an important platform for the future of the entrepreneurship and innovation sector in the KSA and goes beyond this to benefit the economy and the labor market, as demonstrated by the volume and quality entries from talented youth.”

The MITEF Startups Competition is supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (government partner), Zain Saudi Arabia and Dulani Business Centre (strategic), Dulani Business Centre and King Khalid Foundation (social entrepreneurship), SEDCO Holding (financial awareness), Eye of Riyadh and MIT Technology Review (media), MITEF Pan Arab (regional), Wamda (entrepreneurship awareness), and IRO (technical) and service partners include KAUST, Olow, Qutuf, and Zain KSA. — SG