Ever since we announced the semifinalist teams for the 13th edition of the Arab Startup Competition, we have been brimming with excitement (and for a good reason too).

We have done the math and some interesting insights have emerged just by looking at the data. Almost only 1% of this year’s applications have made it through to the semifinals!

By comparing with the industries of the semifinalists from last year, we realize that there’s a 50% decrease in the number of fintech-related projects and a 75% decrease in the number of healthcare-related projects. On the other hand, the data shows a 50% increase in ed-tech projects, in addition to a noticeably prominent industry which is ‘Construction and Engineering’ - reflecting the rising interest in digitizing the sector.

Additionally, this year’s semifinalists include 4 non-MENA based teams compared to none last year, highlighting the competition’s increasing popularity and international reach. Speaking of which, we are thrilled to know that our monthly newsletter attracted the most number of submitted applications from around the world (a humble brag). We will be going more in-depth with this year’s data around the semifinalists in another blog post.

Honestly, we are fortunate to have a stellar line-up of partners, who continue to support the growth and development of the regional startup ecosystem. Before we go ahead and list them, we want to take a moment to thank them for helping us put this year’s conference and award ceremony, which will be held on April 8 in *drum roll* Abu Dhabi, UAE!

Registration for the conference and award ceremony is currently open, for further details about the agenda click here

Our partners for the 13th edition of MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition are: Community Jameel (Main Partner), Hub71 (Main Partner), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Innovation Partner), Abu Dhabi Global Market (Industry Partner), Zain Group (Digital Partner), Flat6Labs (Acceleration Partner), and AlDar (Supporting Partner). The new partnerships highlight the leading role the competition has been playing over the course of 13 years in supporting entrepreneurship, fostering a culture of innovation, and creating lanes for collaboration between corporations and startups.

Before all the semifinalists head to Abu Dhabi for the big event, they all have to attend a preparatory bootcamp which will be held on March 1-3 at KAUST campus in Thuwal, KSA. Also, for the first time, the bootcamp will join both the Pan Arab and Saudi chapters of MIT Enterprise Forum, marking a new milestone in the competition’s history.

Over the past 12 years, we have come to learn that the bootcamp is a crucial part of the success of the participating semifinalists, where some of them completely overhaul their value proposition and pitching decks (within one month). Here’s a little throwback to last year’s bootcamp which was held in Amman (Jordan):

The semifinalist teams will learn from +40 mentors from various backgrounds, industries, and expertise. During the mentorship activity, teams will receive honest and transparent feedback on their pitch decks, presentation skills, and value proposition.

In preparation for the big event in April, the semifinalists will learn a few tips and tricks on how to perfect pitching towards securing potential funding rounds and partnerships.

Moreover, members from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will give a session during the third day of the bootcamp (March 3)

The bootcamp training will be given by the following experts, among others:

Amal Dokhan - CEO Global Entrepreneurship Network GEN Saudi at GEN Global

Ozan Sonmez - Accelerator Program and Network Design Senior Expert at UNDP

Leena AlOlaimy - Cofounder of 3BL Associates

Reem Khouri - Cofounder & CEO of Whyise, Founding Partner of Kaamen

Raed Madanat - Senior Technical Manager at Al Jidara

We are all thrilled about the journey coming ahead and look forward to meeting all the teams in person at KAUST.

Stay tuned for future updates and announcements #ASC2020 #MITEFArab #MITEFSaudi #KAUST #Hub71

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