Maghreb Startup Initiative Launches Competition for North African Entrepreneurs

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North African entrepreneurs, get your ideas ready: The Maghreb Startup Initiative is now live. 

Founded as a partnership between the Algerian Startup Initiative in Algeria, Fondation du Jeune Entrepreneur in Morocco, and Education for Employment Tunisia and accelerator Wiki Start Up in Tunisia, the initiative will offer bootcamps, competitions that include rural areas, and general startup support. Partners and sponsors include Abraaj Capital, Intel and Gust Angelsoft.

MSI, which is implemented through the U.S.-North Africa Partnership for a Economic Opportunity (PNB-NAPEO), has also launched a  startup competition to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs in biotechnology, green technology, energy, and information and communication technology (ICT) to submit ideas and compete to win training, mentoring, connection with peers across the Maghreb, up to US $10,000 in cash prizes, and the possibility of participating in the Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley.

Of those who apply, 50 initial candidates will be selected to pitch to a panel of jurors in each country, and 25 semifinalists in each country will be selected to attend a bootcamp, training, and mentorship session to develop their business plan and project, in October 2012. Those 25 will be able to submit their business plans to Intel, who will select one winning team to participate in the Intel Global Challenge in November 2012. 

Up to 5 winners will then be selected from each country to attend one week of cross border exchange and training, which will take place during the annual U.S.-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference in early 2013.  

In March 2013, the winners will convene in Tunisia for a final award ceremony, where final winners from each country will be chosen. 

The competition is targeting students and unemployed youth who have an idea and want to start a business, says Regional Coodinator Hiba Gribaa Turki. "We are mainly targeting university students from the region, with the goal of inspiring youth to get involved in entrepreneurship. We are also hoping to involve unemployed youth- if they have an idea, we hope they will participate."  

See the site for more details and for registratino forms to apply in Morocco (deadline June 30th),

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