A team from Lebanon won first place at the 5th annual Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Arab Business Plan Competition. Their product, Butterfly, a tool that helps swimmers keep track of their training, was selected from over 4500 applicants aiming for the first prize of $50,000 USD, a press release said Tuesday.
The final 14 teams were selected from 50 semi-finalists. Dominating the competition were teams from Egypt, who made up half of the selected finalists. The second and third prize of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, both went to Egyptian teams.
The second prize went to the CEO of Qabila Media Productions, Mahmoud Al Shafe’ei, whose company offers cost-effective media production solutions. The third prize went to Rafik Guindi of the Silgenix team that specializes in on-chip power management designs that increase the battery life of portable electronic devices.
“The number of applications we have received during the last few years has doubled annually, underscoring the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Middle East and the platform that we have established to showcase the bright ideas emanating from more than 20 countries in this region,” Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum, issued in a statement.
In partnership with the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives and Global Innovation Through Science and Technology, the annual Arab Business Plan Competition is a key initiative developed by the MIT Enterprise Forum, which aims to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship across the Arab region.
The initiative targets 21 countries in the MENA region and receives more than 4,000 applications per year. More than 200 new companies have been created through the competition, developing employment opportunities for hundreds of young entrepreneurs in the Middle East since 2006.
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