Meet the winners of MITEF Arab Startup Competition’s 11th Edition (2018)

The Arab Startup Competition by the year run startup competition by MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, which happens to be one of the largest and most prestigious of its kind in the region, announced the winners of its 11th edition yesterday in the award ceremony held in Muscat, Oman.

The competition is divided into three main categories; startups track, ideas track and social entrepreneurship track. The winners were selected from the 84 semi-finalists that MITEF had selected earlier this year, with 20 of them from Lebanon, 14 from Egypt, 10 from United Arab Emirates, 9 from Saudi Arabia, 7 from Jordan, 6 from Palestine & Tunisia, 4 from Morocco, 2 from Bahrain and Sudan, and 1 from Kuwait, Qatar, Algeria, and Oman.

The winners received cash prizes of more than $160,000 with $50,000 as the biggest prize for the winner of Startups track.

These are all the winners of different tracks.

Startups track

Startups track was open to legally registered startups that had a working prototype and preferable some traction and sales as well.

Winner – ProvenMed from Tunisia

Tunis-based ProvenMed was declared the winner of the startups track, winning the biggest prize, $50,000. Founded by Souheil Guessoum, an Algerian, it is a medical devices company having patented products for incontinence (lack of voluntary control over urination) care. Their wearable device, ActivGo™ provides solution for male urine incontinence care, with the aim restore patients’ grace and dignity, facilitate nursing care, prevent urinary tract infections and reduce healthcare costs. The discreet wearable device provides has use cases for different pathologoies and situations affecting men, including, “short-term or intractable post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence, post-irradiation urinary incontinence, non-ambulatory patients with urinary incontinence, central nervous system lesions” and the people who cannot access tiolets for long-hours due to nature of their work; miners, pilots, taxi drivers, etc.

Runner-up – WideBot from Egypt

There’s perhaps no competition in the region where WideBot hasn’t been among winners or runners up in the last on year or so. The Egyptian startup, founded by Mohamed Nabil, lets people build bots for Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack, Kik & Skype without any coding knowledge. The bots according to WideBot can be built by anyone without any knowledge of coding in less than ten minutes. Founded in 2016, the startup already has clients in Saudi, Egypt and Argentina. Widebot was one of the three runners-up of the startup track.

Runner-up – Plotos from Lebanon

Plotos was another runner-up of the startup track. The startup is a healthy food delivery platform that allows users to order healthy and wholesome food in Dubai. Founded by a team of Lebanese nutritionists and entrepreneurs, Plotos offers users healthy choices for different meals from breakfast to the dinners. All the restaurants on the platform are hand-picked by their team of nutritionists.

Runner-up – Solar Foods from Sudan

Sudanese startup Solar Foods was the last runner-up at the startup track. Founded by Dr. Alaa Salaih Hamadto, the startup processes the local harvests using solar energy dryers to help people cook traditional and authentic dishes. Solar Dried Foods sell these ingredients in their branded packing. Their products that are currently available in Sudan only are free of preservatives, gm materials, artificial coloring and flavoring. The startup aims to globalize local its organic food produce.

Ideas Track

Ideas track was for the entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. The applications were not required to have a prototype, sales or a registered company to take part in it.

Winner – Quirkpod from Egypt

Founded by Egyptian founder, Eman Aboulatta, the San Jose-based QuirkPod is an online platform that aims to help students develop skills through transformational learning experiences. The startup uses artificial intelligence, personalizaiton and expert developed content, enabling schools to personalize the self-development learning experience of their students. Their platform is currently in private beta. The startup won $15,000 in prize money.

First Runner-up – Spike from Lebanon

The Lebanese startup, Spike, was the first runner-up of ideas track. Founded by Ziad Alame, Spike helps diabetics better manage their diabetes through their mobile app. The application monitors patient’s behavior on daily basis and reminds them with different things including taking insulin, meals, and general activity. The application also stores patient’s data that can be shared with doctors and/or caregivers. Spike was the winner of most recent batch of Speed Lebanon’s acceleration program, wining $50,000 of investment.

Second Runner-up – Smart Data Logger from Jordan

Jordanian startup Smart Data Logger was the second runner-up of the ideas track. Smart Data Logger only few days ago had won the Startup Turkey’s pitch competition. Founded by Mohammad Shakhatreh & Yahya Titi, Smart Data Logger’s IoT solution allows real-time monitoring of temperature of a shipment. The device uses roaming cellular connection to inform the concerned parties through automated SMS, emails, and recorded calls when the temperature of a shipment exceeds the specified limits.

Social Enterprise Track

The social enterprise track was for the companies that have developed products and services to address social problems.

Winner – El Khodairy from Egypt

Egyptian social enterprise El Khodairy was declared the winner of social enterprise track. The organization converts converts the waste and soil-damaging chemical fertilizers into energy. The solution also allows the production of biomethane gas, an alternative to fill gas cylinders.

First Runner-up – Fabric Aid from Lebanon

Beirut-based Fabric Aid is a collector and distributor of second-hand clothes. The startup purchases these clothes from NGOs or procure them directly through campaigns with schools, universities and businesses. The enterprise then grades, sorts and clean the clothes at their warehouse to eventually sell them by setting up pop-up second hand shops all over Lebanon.

Second Runner-up – Sunbox from Plaestine

Palestinian enterprise Sunbox was declared the second runner-up for the social enterprise track. The enterprise has introduced an affordable off-grid, easy-to-install small solar kit for the families who suffer from electricity shortage.

The awerd ceremony was attended by more than 400 entrepreneurs, media representatives, and investors including some big names like Ahmad Al Alfi of Sawari Ventures, Abdel Aziz Alloughani of Faith Capital, Sharifa Al Barami of Oman Technology Fund, Tarek Fahim of Endure Capital, and Sharif El Badawi of 500 Startups,

During the ceremony, Hala Fadel, Chair of the Board of MITEF Pan Arab said: “We are so proud that this year’s biggest Arab startup event is being held in Oman. This event is not only a competition, but an opportunity for top tier Arab entrepreneurs to present and share their experiences in the area of innovation and the creation and nurturing of an ecosystem for innovation within Oman. Investing in Arab entrepreneurship will, in turn, contribute to the revitalization of the economy, and lead to the creation of new partnerships that can eventually transform into large institutions.”

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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