New event in Saudi Arabia to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas

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“Right before pitching my idea and going up on stage, I was doubting myself. But, I learned to believe in myself more. I also learned that raw ideas don’t come out fully formed, and there’s a lot of pivoting and iterations that happen.”

This was what Raghad Al-Attas said about the importance of mentorship when it comes to ideation. Al-Attas is the cofounder of the winning team, Bousla, at the Techpreneurship Sprint 2017.

The event held in Jeddah, brought together technology and startup enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds to work together on developing their technology startup ideas.

Bolstering its role as the first entrepreneurship-centered MBA program in the Kingdom, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College for Business & Entrepreneurship (MBSC) hosted the event on July 29, in collaboration with Jeddah Global Shapers Community. The latter is an initiative of the World Economic Forum that comprises a global network of hubs developed and led by young people seeking to make positive contributions to their communities.

During the 12-hour entrepreneurship event, participants pitched their tech startup ideas in 60 seconds. Then eight teams were chosen to work on developing their ideas.

The event accepted ideas from different domains such as ecommerce, IoT, ICT, fintech,traveltech, healthtech and other tech areas.

At the end of the day, each team had five minutes to pitch their developed idea to a panel of judges for a chance to win prizes.

Mentors and judges were experts in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship. Some judges were KSA’s accelerator Qotuf’s Marwan Jamal, MSBC’s Osama Ashri, Chrome Advisory’s Khalid Suleimani, and Omar Shaban from the Ministry of Economy.

Realizing ideas

The first place went to Bousla team, an app that allows users to explore tourist destinations in the Kingdom. Alzobda and Start It had the same points and came both in the second place. The first provides a Snapchat and Wikipedia-like app to answer users questions via short videos, and the latter is a platform that provides support for new startups.

The winning team, Bousla. (Image via Techpreneurship Sprint)

The three winning teams will be provided with tools, resources, and guidance to take their startups from ideation to real life. They will receive access to coworking spaces from The Offices and Nawa Space, branding workshops from 25Branding, as well as to mentoring sessions, startup bootcamps, and a chance to be a member of Saudi Arabia’s accelerator, Qotuf.

Mentorship is a must

Wamda’s recent report about the status of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, said that “the ecosystem needs more experienced mentorship from individuals who have done this before.”

Dr. Nabeel Koshak, Dean of MBSC, said that such programs “allow young entrepreneurs to set their talents free in a very supportive environment.”

“They also give them an idea of the competitive atmosphere of the tech sector as well as encouraging the realization of teamwork as indispensable to success. Needless to say, it’s a lot of fun, too,” he added.

“Our goal is to seize all the local talent we have in the Kingdom, enable, educate and empower entrepreneurs,” concluded Techpreneurship Sprint cofounder, Mounir Kabbara and founder of the mobile application ‘Mobilicious’, an app that connects customers to local food trucks.

“The success of this event has driven us to plan a similar one in the upcoming months,” he added.

Feature image via Techpreneurship Sprint: Abdulrahman Jamjoom and his team who tied for second place.

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