Eight startup ideas were selected to take part in the Darwazah Contest Awards, which took place at the American University of Beirut (AUB) on Monday, May 22.
The purpose of this competition was to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation among students.
The teams went through an ideation session, a thorough jury selection, and were required to apply the business model canvas, attend development workshops, and submit their final business models for a chance to win 20,000 dollars.
“Four of the eight startup ideas have active women founders on their teams,” highlighted May Darwazah Murad from Hikma Pharmaceuticals in her keynote.
Healthcare, F&B and more
While some of the pitching ideas tackled healthcare, like Gluco-z, a non-invasive diabetes monitoring; others covered the food, entertainment and the real estate industries, like Mekaprep, a robot that prepares ‘manakish’; Monopolykings that give you real estate investment advice; and Thabet for helping with refugee employment.
In addition to the pitching competition, the Darwazah contest hosted a panel discussion about the journey of local successful entrepreneurs going global. Panels included Ray Dargham, cofounder and CEO of Step, Jalil Allabadi managing partner of Altibbi and Tarek Jaroudi cofounder and managing partner of Moodfit, Darwzah’s 2015 contest winner. Discussions during the panel emphasized on scaling to bigger markets, because the regional markets, except for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are too small for most startups to survive.
We’re all winners
The first prize was shared by two winning teams, who left home with $10,000 each.
Night Owl, an all-women idea by Mariam Dabbousi, Carine Saad, and Nour Khouzami, is a mobile app acting as the ultimate ‘concierge system’ for the nightlife scene. It provides real-time information and live updates on nightlife events and parties around Beirut.
The second idea, which also won the first place, was Cartilagene by Waddah Malaeb. It is a multi-parametric bioreactor which stimulates articular cartilage tissues in all the needed biomimetic properties. In other words, it stimulates the cartilage in different ways, in an environment similar to the bone environment, thus preparing it to be inserted in the body.
Murad reminded all participants at end that “the wrong lesson would be to pack up and go home”. She added that “you should go back and fine tune your idea so that next time it has a greater chance of success.”
Feature image via Wamda.