Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa announces that teams from Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia,Egypt,Morocco, and the United Arab Emiratesmade it to the winners’ stage at the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab competition. The contestants were singled out for putting forward the best start-up innovative and creative business ideas in the Arab world from amongst 75 contesting teams from 15 Arab countries.
The competition’s final ceremony, at which the winners were announced, is a culmination of six months of planning, with the gala ceremony being held at the Symphony Style Hotel in Kuwait on 20 April.

The high profile ceremony witnessed H.E. Sheikha Al-Zain Al Sabah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs attend the event and present at the ceremony as did leading Kuwaiti business figures Mohammed Alshaya, Executive Chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co; Mohammed Jaffar, CEO of Talabat.com; and Tarek Sultan, CEO and Vice Chairman of Agility. All received rousing applause from the 500 strong audience who were immensely-impressed and inspired by their candid comments and visionary statements.

Keynote speeches at the event were also made by Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer; MITEF Pan Arab, Managing Director, Joelle Yazbeck and MIT Arab Alumini Association, President, Hazem Zureiqat.
Earlier this year, Zain Group confirmed it would partner with founding partner, Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, for the eighth edition of the competition, which received 4,275 individual and team applications (representing a record participation of over 12,000 entrepreneurs) from 21 Arab countries. The three tracks that entrants applied for were: Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship.

The winners of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab competition shared total prize money amounting to US$135,000, and the list of the victors was as follows:
Startups Track
Winner: Colorbug-a Lebanese team based in the UAE that created an ideal solution fusing the traditional with the digital whereby children are encouraged to color books and then enhance their experience with augmented reality technology in order to enjoy learning in an interactive and entertaining way.

2nd place: Project IO-a Jordan based team that developed a technology to resolve the problem of shopping for shoes online whereby the user scans their foot with a smartphone to confirm their size for that particular brand of shoes.

3rd place: Screen DY-a Moroccan based team that developed a platform to offer any mobile developer the ability to build complex, custom, and native apps that work on all platforms within days.

Ideas Track
Winner: Kotobna-Egypt based team that gives young talented Arab authors an alternative method to publish and monetize their work (novels, comics, article collections, blog collections, and research papers.

2nd place: Concure-a Saudi Arabian team that has developed a proof of concept prototype that is a multi-layered blanket for use in curing concrete, in which the product absorbs water easily, lies flat after initial setting, and is reusable.

3rd place: Nano Ebers-an Egypt based team that has developed a high honey concentration and nanofiber structure that enhances antimicrobial effects and promotes moist wound healing.

Social Entrepreneurship Track: (3 equal winners)
Visualizing Impact-A Lebanese entity that is a citizen data journalism laboratory that deploys data science, design and technology for social justice.

La Perle de la Mer-A Morocco based entity whose project aspires to ensure the health and safety of products through the establishment of purification plants that will allow marketing of products in different markets directly

Tahrir Academy-An Egypt based entity offering a blended learning platform that provides engaging learning experiences to Egyptian youth through combining world class and carefully localized teaching methods with the latest technologies.

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Commenting on Zain’s involvement and the success of the MIT Enterprise Forum competition, Scott Gegenheimer, Zain GroupCEO said, “I congratulate the organizers of both the MIT Enterprise Forum and MIT Arab Alumini Association for holding such a qualityevent in Kuwait. I also congratulate all the semi-finalists and winners for showing how progressive and dynamic their startup ideas are. Much of the region’s future development will be driven by young innovative people in technology, so Zain is especially proud to be fostering the growth of this competition. I’m confident that many of these teams will succeed in translating their ideas into successful projects.”

Apart from the winners’ prizemoney, each of the Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship track semi-finalists benefitted from top tier training, mentorship, coaching, media exposure, and great networking opportunities throughout the competition.

Widely known as MIT , theMassachusetts Institute of Technology is recognized for being one of the leading universities in the world, earning a reputation as a key player in the advancement of the digital age. MIT focuses on better equipping students with the right tools to transform technological ideas into successful businesses across many academic fields.

Founded in 2005, the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) of the Pan Arab Region is one of the 28 worldwide chapters of the MITEF Global, an avid promoter of innovation worldwide, engaging aspiring entrepreneurs in mentorship and networking.

For more information on the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition semi-finalist and winners, please visit www.mitarabcompetition.com

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