London Business School has called on budding entrepreneurs to submit their entries to its second annual MENA Startup Competition, sponsored by Innobayt - the UAE based software development solutions company, ahead of the approaching deadline. Supported by the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC), this prestigious event will be hosted at LBS Dubai Campus and aims to foster and empower the entrepreneurial community in the region.
As a renowned global hub for alumni entrepreneurs, LBS is leveraging the remarkable success of its London-based Incubator program to assist and elevate the burgeoning community of business innovators and trailblazers across the MENA region.
Jane Khedair, Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital, recognises the Middle East as a breeding ground for talent, with access to a vibrant ecosystem teeming with enthusiasm. She notes, "The Middle East region is one of the youngest global entrepreneurial hubs, and places like Dubai Silicon Oasis, and the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, are buzzing with new technology and innovation. This has attracted leading entrepreneurs and investors who are seeking to take their ideas to the next level.
“MENA's passion for entrepreneurship is innate, and there is an invaluable support provided by governments and the wider business community. Ambition, entrepreneurship, and innovation are abundant in the Gulf states, many of whom are promoting the use of smart technologies to accelerate their agenda of becoming knowledge-based economies. The region is now rivalling some of the world's greatest hubs, from Tokyo to Singapore,” says Khedair.
Whilst the competition does not have a specific sector focus, Khedair says this year we are expecting an increased number of ‘green’ entries as part of the mix of applications given the huge emphasis on sustainability in the region. “As the UAE prepares to host COP28 in November, we are looking forward to seeing more startups that are using their entrepreneurial spirit to address the many environmental challenges that the planet is facing. Investors are increasingly taking ESG into account when deciding where their money should go. Likewise, at LBS, sustainability remains a core focus.”
With LBS's Incubator program alone, Khedair has supported the development of over 100 new ventures and raised more than £120 million (547 million AED) in seed capital during her tenure at LBS. The MENA Startup Competition aims to complement the growing ecosystem of companies, government agencies, and financial services that contribute to nurturing the region's talented entrepreneurs.
"We are well-positioned to support MENA's entrepreneurial ambitions," Khedair adds. "LBS and the Institute have a proven track record, as highlighted in a recent report by Business Leader, stating that our alumni raised nearly $4 billion (14.7 billion AED) in funding for their companies last year."
In the inaugural edition of the competition in 2022, Turkish technology startup Ollang emerged as the winner. Ollang specialises in end-to-end human-powered AI localisation through subtitles and dubbing for video and audio. The company received a cash prize of $15,000 (55,000 AED). The runner-up, Vaqat, an online platform for companies outsourcing intern support, was awarded $5,000 (18,000 AED).
Beyond monetary rewards, the competition offers startups the opportunity to gain traction, reach a wider audience, secure financial investment from venture capitalists, tap into the extensive LBS global network, and increase their media exposure.
Khedair encourages aspiring competitors to submit their entries before the deadline of June 16. To apply, click here. For any inquiries regarding the competition, please email MENAcompetition@london.edu.