Of the 50 teams that the MIT Enterprise Forum accepted into the semifinal round of the Arab Business Plan Competition, the 14 finalists have been announced today.
When discussing the finalists, Hala Fadel, Chair, of the MITEF Arab Business Plan Competition, points to continuing trends this year: teams from Egypt comprised 50% of the finalists (and applicants), and the quality of applicants keep improving.
"These finalists have very innovative ideas paired with very strong teams," she says. "Usually, we take 12, but this year we were forced to take two extra, because a total of 14 teams had average scores of 75 and above. In general, many of these startups are experienced in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, have worked hard on their models, and have set the bar quite high."
The jury for the finalists this year includes Sheikha Lubna al Qasimi, Said Darwazah, CEO of Hikma Phamaceuticals, Mounir Husseini, Senior Partner at Abraaj Capital, Ossama Hassanein of TechWadi and PlugandPlay, and Ali Al-Husry, Director, Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Chairman of Endeavor Jordan. Others, who include very experienced jurors, says Fadel, have helped vet the applications along the way.
I had a great time chatting with several startups at the recent MITEF workshop in Abu Dhabi (also see our interviews with finalist Acadox as well as Egyptian solar-powered water pumping solution KarmSolar, Lebanese travel platform TourTwist and recently relocated SearchinMENA).
We'll now have to see the final 14 duke it out at the final ceremony on June 28, 2012 in Beirut Lebanon. Wamda will be there to see who takes the final top three prizes (winning $50,000, $20, and $10,000, respectively), and who, of the three women-led teams (Palestine Outsourcing Company, Butterfleye, and eArtvolution) will take home the Women's Startup Prize.
|Acadox||High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software||Mustafa Nabulsi
|Brate||Social Networks||Shadi Tabbara
|Butterfleye||High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software||Hind Hobeika
|Connect [Vira]||High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software||Abdul Kader Lamaa
|eArtvolution.net||Creative Industries||Daoud AbdelMonem Faleh
Mohamed Amine Chourou
Slim Ben Bahloul
|GenieTag Inc.||High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software||Adam El Daba
|Education and Training||Emad Ammouri
|Creative Industries||Souad Abdelhamid
|Presto Wireless||High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software||Ala Khalifeh
|Qabila Media Productions||Creative Industries||Perihan AbouZeid
Gehad El Haddad
Mahmoud El Sahief
Ahmad Fateh Elbab
|SilGenix||High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software||Loai Salem
Rania El Masry
|Studio Meem||Creative Industries||Manar Moursi
|Teek4Geeks||High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software||Ahmed Kamal
Photo courtesy of Mohamad Khawaja's Flickr stream.