Saudi, others present groundbreaking innovations at EmTech MENA 2019

سعيد الزهراني

DUBAI — Twenty winners of the EmTech MENA’s ‘Innovators Under 35’ award, hailing from the UAE, Algeria, Palestine, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt will present at a three-minute elevator pitch on Monday and Tuesday, to a judging panel of high-profile academics, experts and business leaders.

MIT Technology Review’s ‘Innovators Under 35’ award is an annual list that recognizes outstanding innovators who are younger than 35 and have developed technical products or services across multiple fields that have the potential to shape the future. The goal is to recognize the development of new technology or the creative application of existing technologies to solve the world’s greatest challenges.

Four of the winners who will present today are Ghena AlHanaee, Saeid Alzahrani, Hassan Albalawi and Shaikha Olothman.

As Gulf countries embark on ambitious nuclear power projects, 29-year-old Emirati Ghena AlHanaee is actively researching nuclear energy catastrophe modeling, the impact of nuclear safety provisions in the Gulf region and policy implementation for risk mitigation. AlHanaee is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant at the University of Southern California, whose work focuses on assessing the complex interdependencies of nuclear power to existing oil and gas, and desalination industries so as to develop a rigorous framework ensuring the security of reliable water and energy supplies.

Another ‘Innovator Under 35’ award winner to present today is Saudi national Saeid Alzahrani, Founder of BRAQ Aerospace, a Saudi-company which delivers custom unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) solutions, technology, production, consultation and downstream services. BRAQ Aerospace aims to become the GCC’s leading company in developing industrial and commercial aerial vehicles and robotics, and to integrate unique and safe unmanned traffic management solutions in low altitude airspaces. Looking further afield, Alzahrani is working towards BRAQ Aerosapce becoming the first private-held company to operate UAVs on Mars. Innovations in UAV have implications across multiple sectors, such as defense, logistics and transportation.

WakeCap Co-founder and CEO Hassan Albalawi made the list of ‘Innovators Under 35’ award winners by disrupting the traditional construction industry and utilising technology to make better decisions and improve safety. WakeCap developed a real-time location services IoT platform, designed specifically for the construction industry. The IoT platform collects data through a WakeCap-patented wearable solution that connects to safety helmets. Through this, contractors can automatically collect and transmit current and historical labor and job site data, providing decision-makers with real-time, data-driven actionable insights improving efficiency, safety, job site control, and profitability. At present, WakeCap is already working with multiple mega construction projects in the UAE.

The last award winner to give an elevator pitch to judges is Kuwaiti entrepreneur Shaikha Alothman. Alothman is the Founder of Oraxle Connect, a company which designs innovative healthcare systems. Oraxle Connect utilises an overlooked healthcare resource – thousands of family caregivers who provide informal care for loved ones – to reduce spending in the American healthcare system. Oraxle Connect provides a free web- and mobile-based database of family caregivers to allow for decentralized support. Family caregivers are then able to communicate with each other to provide non-medical home-care guidance to each other. — SG