The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) in Saudi Arabia, a branch of the global network of MITEF, concluded the activities of the Startup Investment Forum and the StartSmart Conference, which took place from March 4 to 6. During the StartSmart Conference on March 6, names of the nine winning teams in the fifth edition of the MITEF Saudi Startup Competition were announced.
The nine Saudi winning teams won cash prizes totaling SR325,000 ($86,650). In the Startups track, the winners were: First, Hudhud Al; second, Nugttah; and third, Taffi. As for the Ideas track, SARsat came first, Themar came in the second place, while Genomez won the third prize. Finally, in the Social Enterprise track, Ad Astra won the first place, Cube DX came second, and Baleegh won the third prize. All teams will now enter the MITEF Arab Startup Competition.
The forum and conference were organized in partnership with Bab Rizq Jameel and under the patronage of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
The Startup Investment Forum came this year in its virtual version, with the participation of more than 50 startups from Saudi Arabia and other countries, including the UAE, Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Palestine, India, North Macedonia, China, the US, the UK, and Lithuania.
The StartSmart Conference was attended by a galaxy of investors, entrepreneurs, and speakers from around the world.
In a speech at the conference, Deputy Minister for Technology and Industrial Capacity Dr. Ahmed Altheneyan said: “We are pleased to support the fifth edition of the MITEF Saudi Startup Competition, with the aim of stimulating and enriching the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem, exploring national entrepreneurial talent and supporting its growth, in line with the ICT Strategy 2023, to enable a coherent present and an innovative future to realize the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030.”
He added: “The ministry has sought to create an effective model to support the process of digital entrepreneurship by providing an integrated ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs and innovators in the field of digital transformation, linking them with investors, opening markets for them, and transforming their ideas into widely deployable startups.
“A center for innovation and digital entrepreneurship was established, through which services were provided to more than 300 male and female entrepreneurs; more than 500 new digital business models were launched, and 14 innovation labs were launched with our partners in the private and public sectors.”
Hassan Jameel, vice chairman, Community Jameel, said: “This year’s virtual competition reflects the way the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global business environment — a challenge that all our participants approached with an agile mindset. Entrepreneurs and SMEs are a vital part of the economy in Saudi Arabia. By 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to scale SME contribution to national GDP from 20 to 35 percent, and they will play a key role in our economic recovery after the pandemic. The ideas and innovation shown by this year’s participants reinforce that we have some of the finest and brightest talents right here in the Kingdom, to achieve this ambition.”