MIT Announces 14 Finalists in Arab Business Plan Competition

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.

  Name Industry Team Members Country
  Acadox High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software Mustafa Nabulsi
Mohammad Al-Hareeqi
Nedal Mourad
  Brate Social Networks Shadi Tabbara
Sameeh Harfoush
Rasha Obeid
Iman Alaylli
  Butterfleye High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software Hind Hobeika
Rita Oghassabian
Carl Madi
  Connect [Vira] High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software Abdul Kader Lamaa
Sleiman Itani
Tala Nsouli
Lebanon Creative Industries Daoud AbdelMonem Faleh
Mohamed Amine Chourou
Amir Chebli
Slim Ben Bahloul
  GenieTag Inc. High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software Adam El Daba
Mohamed Shahin
Kelly Curry
  Ibtaker for
Education and Training Emad Ammouri
Eman Afani
Ahmad Sabri
Hisham Khatib
  Palestine Outsourcing
Company (POC)
Creative Industries Souad Abdelhamid
Sameera Qadoura
Dima Anani
Amal Zanoun
  Presto Wireless High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software Ala Khalifeh
Matt Knebel
Shankara Raghuraman
Mohamed Sharaf
  Qabila Media Productions Creative Industries Perihan AbouZeid
Mostafa Saeed
Gehad El Haddad
Mahmoud El Sahief
Ahmad Fateh Elbab
  Schaduf Agriculture Sherif Hosny
Tarek Hosny
Wenzhe Li
  SilGenix High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software Loai Salem
Rafik Guindi
Rania El Masry
  Studio Meem Creative Industries Manar Moursi
Marwa Kamaleldin
Mahmoud Morsy
  Teek4Geeks High-Tech, Telecommunications, and Software Ahmed Kamal
Ahmed Soliman
Fadi Adib

Photo courtesy of Mohamad Khawaja's Flickr stream.

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