Bootcamp Training at KAUST: here's the lowdown


If you had.

One shot.

Or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted

In one moment

Would you capture it

Or just let it slip?

-Marshall Mathers

Today we’re taking a page from Eminem’s book of wisdom on the importance of being prepared (and being prepared to fail hard, and still keep going).

Whether it was at the gym, an exam, or a job interview, being equipped with the relevant skills keeps you ahead of the competition in any field. And in order to be ready, one must diligently train and consistently practice for life’s big moments.

Many people fall into the mistake of always swinging for the fences, hoping they reach perfection in the process. Instead of going all out with every try, perhaps it’d be better to take a pause, learn, prepare, and improve. And don’t think that time is not on your side; take your time. Listen, it’s called ‘perfect’ for a reason: it’s unreachable. Aim for excellence, it’s good enough.

This year’s Arab Startup Competition semifinalists have exactly one month to prepare for the conference and awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi (April 8), where they will face the judges for the last time. Though, before they head to Abu Dhabi, all teams will head to Saudi Arabia on March 1-3 for an intensive training bootcamp at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

The bootcamp training will address the lifecycle of a startup in the MENA, which will be administered by industry experts through tailored training modules specifically designed to prepare each track for the judges.

Throughout the years, the MITEF Arab Startup Competition training bootcamp has grown to become one of MENA’s most impactful training programs, where attendees get a front-row seat to the latest updates in the world of tech entrepreneurship. Here’s a recap from last year’s bootcamp which happened in Amman, Jordan:

Upon completion of the training bootcamp, all semifinalist teams will be added to the official MITEF alumni directory, where people could reach out to them, find more details about their project and founders.

Before the bootcamp officially kicks off, all teams will gather for a ‘meet and greet’ so that they won’t be complete strangers when the bootcamp officially starts. What is more important, though, is the fact that our Main Partners at Hub71 will take the stage during that time to introduce the semifinalists, who have come from all over the Arab world, to Abu Dhabi’s startup ecosystem and Hub71’s incentive program for them to come and grow their businesses from the heart of the emirate.

Furthermore, the team from KAUST will also take the stage to briefly address the semifinalists on how the university has been supporting tech entrepreneurs in the MENA region and how they plan to drive impact-driven research projects to become money-making businesses (read: stakeholder capitalism).

Below you could find the schedule breakdown for each participating track in the competition:

Startups Track

Sunday, March 1:

  • In the beginning, was the 'why': a design thinking workshop that delves into exploring how purpose-driven startups design better products and create long-lasting impact
  • Build your business model & value proposition: a seminar addressing the latest trends in revenue models and value propositions, actively involving stakeholders from all levels
  • Generating multiple business and value propositions (one-on-one rotating mentors): a continuation to the previous seminar, while tailoring specific business models and value propositions depending on your target market segment
  • Your pitch! 10 slides/20 seconds rule: a hands-on exercise to help the semifinalists pitch like a pro. Have you ever pitched while walking on fire?
  • Rotating pitch practice: one-on-one session with rotating mentors, providing honest and constructive feedback

Monday, March 2:

  • Intro to customer journey mapping: an engaging talk with the semifinalists, providing real-life examples on how companies leverage the ‘experience’ that customers have while interacting with their product to create long-term relationships with them and ultimately build a better product
  • Defensibility: strategies on how to protect your idea in a competitive market: “Competitive advantages” help your company become successful. “Defensibility” helps you stay there. This seminar will address the 4 main defensibility mechanisms to build on during the digital age
  • Building a financial model for an investor: a lecture on driving metrics after launch, the session will be followed by a Q&A
  • Unbundling the fundraising dilemma: How ethics and trust within an organization help you secure the next round of funding
  • Mentorship roundtable: the semifinalists get to ask mentors from various industries and backgrounds for guidance and practical advice

Ideas Track

On March 1, the Ideas Track semifinalists will have a similar training schedule as the Startups Track (with different trainers) except for an additional session titled ‘Intro to Customer Discovery (Surveys are your worst enemy)’.

All the while the Social Entrepreneurship Track will be getting a custom-tailored training module as follows:

Sunday, March 1:

  • An ice-breaker revolving around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where the teams learn about each other’s missions and how they aim to achieve them
  • Introduction to sustainable development: Challenges and opportunities
  • Impact modeling and mapping (theory of change)
  • Impact model: In addition to business models and value propositions, social enterprises must clearly map and define measurable indicators of impact before meeting any investors
  • Pitching theory of change and impact model: How do you convince someone that you’re doing the right thing? Empirical data that is backed with a qualitative assessment
  • Intro to Human-centric design tools (empathy map, user journey, and more)
  • Introduction to Earth-centric design tools (you read that right)

Monday, March 2:

  • Earth-centric design deep dive
  • Build your business model & value propositions: You social enterprise is also a money maker
  • Social business model innovation and value propositions
  • Fundraising, finance, and impact investors
  • Pitching to change the world, pitches, and feedback

On the third day of the bootcamp training (March 3), all semifinalists will attend a conference type of event that is organized by our Innovation Partner KAUST, which includes a tour around the campus and a series of discussion panels. Afterward, the bootcamp training will culminate with yet another mentorship activity which will put all the pieces together.

The training sessions will be given by Amal Dokhan, Ozan Sonmez, Abdulrahman AlJiffry, Leena Al Olaimy, Reem Khouri, Raed Madanat, in addition to over 40 mentors from KSA and the region.

MITEF Pan Arab and partners will be covering the event live on social media so stay tuned on #ASC2020 #MITEFArab for further updates and news

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