Complex Made Simple

Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives announce first round of semifinalists of 7th MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition

The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, has selected the first batch of semifinalist teams from across the Arab region who will gather in Cairo, Egypt for an intensive three-day workshop this May 20th, 21st and 22nd.

The workshop will provide the opportunity to practice their pitches, receive one-to-one coaching sessions, and engage in networking prospects to pitch their projects and receive immediate feedback.

While the qualifying teams will be announced gradually, the competition is still open for applicants at until all 50 teams with Ideas and Startups have been selected. Entrepreneurs with Ideas and Startups in all sectors can win more than $100,000 in prize money. A new addition to the competition, the Global Track, will allow entrepreneurs with established companies to receive funding from international VCs and gain exposure from Silicon Valley, CA.

Fifteen teams have qualified so far from both the Ideas and Startups Tracks are from Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, and United Arab Emirates. These entrepreneurs are from various sectors in telecommunication, health and healthcare, construction and transportation, energy and environmental services, and travel and tourism. This year sees a large presence of women entrepreneurs with an average of at least one woman on each of those teams, as well as many young entrepreneurs of which some are students.

“We are excited that today’s entrepreneurs are innovating across diverse and non-traditional industries, and their startups are addressing issues that will create positive impact on their communities,” says Mrs. Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region. “One hundred and fifty semifinalists will be selected to participate in a four-day high-energy training next May to engage with the whole ecosystem, learn from their peer entrepreneurs, and get instant feedback from experts on their projects.”

“The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition has become an important event in the calendar of young entrepreneurs’ in the Arab world. We are delighted to see them working hard towards qualifying for this competition, the ideal platform for them to present their startups to those who can contribute to their success. ALJCI’s ultimate goal has been to reduce unemployment in the region by giving youth the power to help themselves. “Initiatives like these are increasingly proving to do just that,” said Fady Jameel, President of ALJCI International.

Following the launching of this year’s Competition that connected over 21 cities with Silicon Valley via Google Hangout in early November, a new series of Google+ Hangouts have been introduced to connect entrepreneurs with the global community. During the latest ArabConnect, the discussion was focused around “Women in Entrepreneurship” and featured Rana El Kaliouby, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at Affectiva and MIT Labber, and Bridgette Beam, Global Entrepreneurship Manager at Google for Entrepreneurs. The discussion was led by Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan-Arab Region, and included an intervention by Riham Mahafzah, CEO of Gallery AlSharq and winner of last year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives.

The organizers are also engaging in roadshows, giving information sessions about this program to entrepreneurs in co-working spaces, accelerators, and universities in Cairo, Alexandria, Amman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut.

Entrepreneurs can apply now to the competition at for the Ideas, Startups, and Global Tracks, to win more than $100,000 in prize money and be the next Arab success story.


Nour Jane Kachicho
Community Organizer
The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition
+961 1 201 519