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startAD opens its door for the second edition of Beyond the Pitch. Are you ready?

NYU Abu Dhabi accelerator and entrepreneurship hub, startAD just announced the second edition of its competitive startup program – Beyond the Pitch

Powered by Tamkeen and organized in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the program is ready to accept applicants, and it’s open for UAE residents between the ages of 18 and 25. Last day of submission is January 15, 2019.

Beyond the Pitch will be held under the theme of ‘sustainability’, to harness the entrepreneurial talent of UAE’s youth  and encourage them to drive solutions that could help solve climate changes, the circular economy, green cities, etc.

Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said: “Today’s youth play a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Hence, the UAE has prioritized the engagement and empowerment of youth at the highest levels.

According to Dr. Thani, initiatives such as Beyond the Pitch, support UAE’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship amongst youth, and at the same time, attract innovative startups to the region. “Youth value independence and autonomy and believe that it is their duty to improve their communities, and eventually, the world. The UAE has also created a number of platforms that give youth an opportunity to voice their dreams and aspirations, as well as motivate them and harness their innovative solutions to global issues.”

Director of startAD Robyn Brazzil said: “With 35 percent of the UAE’s population under the age of 25, this program is a great opportunity for local youth to take innovative and impactful ideas and turn them into viable business models in a short period of time.

“Beyond the Pitch is true to its name. We sought to fill the gap created by pitch competitions and hackathons, by providing much-needed follow-on support and guidance.”

The 15 successful teams will go through two preliminary boot camps on February 8-9 and February 15-16, 2019, where they will receive instructions on ideation, getting to product market fit, and customer development.  Additional workshops will be held throughout the program from March to April with a focus on developing and validating a business model as well as learning how to present to a diverse audience of potential partners, customers, and investors.

The 2019 intake of applicants will receive oversight and support from business leaders and entrepreneurs.  GGGI and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment will also support in matching teams with green business experts to help them gain valuable insights into how to create a successful green business.

The 2018 cohort of Beyond the Pitch saw 17 teams from four emirates and 11 universities gain access to 20 mentors. Participating teams included Project Vision, which was awarded $3,000 for its development of an innovative Artificial Intelligence virtual assistance platform for the visually impaired.

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