Algerian GuideME Selected as First Semi-Finalist for MIT Enterprise Region Startup Competition
Algerian GuideME has been selected as one of the semi-finalists teams for this year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition for the Ideas Track.
While participating in a local competition in Algeria, two electrical engineers Badreddine Zebbiche and Sidali Rezetane had less than 24 hours to design a solution for the visually impaired, their enthusiasm lead them to creating "Guide ME”, a new idea with huge potential.
GuideME is an electronic embedded pair of shoes that can be integrated with a smart phone application designed exclusively for the visually impaired. GuideME eases the navigation of blind people by guiding them through difficult environments, such as stairs and crowded streets by detecting obstacles for them and immediately notifying users when they are near an obstacle via sound.
The team believes that now more than ever there is a need for an innovative and accurate technology that can truly “guide” those who are visually impaired.
“After studying the market, we realized that alternative solutions such as GPS and trained dogs are not really accurate, so we thought to ourselves that if there isn't a solution in the market then we will create one," said Zebbiche.
“After participating in several competitions, we realized that it was time to take our idea a step further and we wanted to transform our idea into a reality. We knew we had potential but we didn't know how to start implementing our idea which is why we applied to the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition," explained Zebbiche.
The team will attend a two-day workshop in Qatar in April along with 49 other teams, where they will receive coaching, training and network with other entrepreneurs from the Arab region and meet the region’s major players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Semi-finalist ideas or startups in ICT, digital media, and mobile will automatically qualify for the Oasis 500 training and acceleration program http://www.oasis500.com/, which is a six-day training program that covers all business aspects, including business modeling, financials, pitching, facilitation and marketing.
“We were thrilled when we found out that we had made it to the next round and we are really looking forward for the workshop in order to develop our skills and see how our idea can be improved. The high level of competition and the fact that we will be competing with entrepreneurs from all over the region is what made us even more encouraged to apply because as entrepreneurs we love challenges," remarked Rezetane.
You can find out more about GuideME here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFQTB4MvRAI
Follow Badreffine Zebbiche @badreddinez