In one week, the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, took thirty entrepreneurs from the Arab region to Silicon Valley, USA for a week-long immersive entrepreneurship program from June 8 – 14, 2014, as part of its Global Track- an ‘eye-opener’ on Silicon Valley’s massive resources.
This new track gave the entrepreneurs the possibility to participate in premier conferences and take part in diverse workshop, mentorship, and pitching sessions with experts, industry leaders, investors and other successful entrepreneurs.
The eighteen Arab companies span several different industries and include ShopGo, an eCommerce platform that offers the opportunity for offline stores to go online in just one click; Instabeat, a swimming-tracking device mounted on goggles to provide real-time feedback of performance; CardioDiagnostics, a wireless cardiac monitoring device; Wuzzuf, an online recruitment platform focused on job matching algorithms, superior UX and customer service + SaaS-like business model; and KarmSolar, that implemented the first high-capacity solar pumping solution in the Middle East & North Africa.
The highlight of the week-long events was a two-day Pan Arab Startup Showcase at MIT Technology’s Review flagship conferences, The Digital Summit, which took place in San Francisco, California on June 9 and 10, and that gathered leading industry experts from companies like Evernote, Expect Labs, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Kaggle, Microsoft, and more. The Startup Showcase provided a platform for conference attendees to interact with the entrepreneurs from the Arab region, provided feedback on their technologies, and built connections for potential future partnerships. Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, presented from onstage and Amr Saleh, cofounder and CEO of Integreight, discussed how his company is developing novel hardware that will disrupt the electronic hobbyist and education markets.
“The Global Track creates a bridge between our region and Silicon Valley. The Arab companies will benefit from interaction, feedback, and connections that they will build with local VCs and successful entrepreneurs. In addition to our partnership with MIT Technology Review, we are working with leading organizations in the U.S. such as TechWadi, Google for Entrepreneurs, Endeavor, the MIT Club of Northern California, and LebNet to accelerate and provide high impact mentorship,” said Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab.
Fady Jameel, President of ALJCI International commented: “It is very encouraging to see the large number of entrepreneurs travelling to Silicon Valley, testament to our talent in the region. As ALJCI we are always in support of people taking their lives into their own hands and create ways to become self-sufficient. Start-ups and innovation are the ideal way to combat unemployment. Silicon Valley is a seat of innovation, and I wish our entrepreneurs all the best in making the right connections to grow further, come back with new ideas, and in turn be able to employ more people at home in their flourishing companies.”
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