The MENA 100 Business Plan Competition: Promoting Innovative Entrepreneurship

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Launched in 2009, the MENA 100 Business Plan Competition is now accepting applications for its third competition, with a deadline of February 29th, 2012.

The competition, which is co-organized by the MENA-OECD Investment Programme, aims to promote entrepreneurship and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and North Africa, by mentoring entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to come up with the perfect business plan for their startup or expanding their young enterprises.

Teams applying must be of at least two people who are residents of Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates or Yemen.  A jury will select around 40 to 50 leading applicants to be mentored by successful business leaders and experts from MENA and OECD countries, who will help the aspiring entrepreneurs complete their business plans. A group of ten to fifteen finalists will be selected to attend a training seminar and to present their projects in the final round in July 2012 in Bahrain.

"We do not target any specific industries. Our main focus is on innovation, be it technological or non-technological," says the MENA 100 management team, which is part of the MENA-OECD Investment Programme. “Judges focus on product, process, marketing, and organizational innovation when choosing who advances in each round.”

Three winners will be chosen in Bahrain to receive substantial cash prices ($25,000 for the first prize, $10,000 for the second and $5,000 for the third). All finalists will have the opportunity to meet with ‘business angels’ and investors during the MENA 100 Market Place event taking place at the same time.
The competition is run by the MENA-OECD Enterprise Financing Network and the MENA Centre for Investment, in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Bahrain Development Bank. 

By bringing together MENA and OECD know-how, skills and investors for this third international event, the MENA 100 Business Plan Competition continues to contribute to fostering entrepreneurship, encouraging the expansion of the private sector and spurring economic growth in the region.

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