MENA region an “exciting landscape” for entrepreneurs

Jane Khedair interviewed on Dubai One following inaugural startup competition in Dubai

LBS Competition 1140 by 346

Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC) Jane Khedair recently spoke to journalist Greg Fairlie about how London Business School is bringing its entrepreneurship model to the Middle East on Emirates News (Dubai One, Tuesday 25 October 2022).

Jane was in Dubai to officiate at the inaugural London Business School MENA Startup Competition 2022. Twelve highly innovative startups were selected to participate in the Grand Final which was held last week (Wednesday 19 October 2022) in Dubai at DIFC campus.

The startups from across the MENA region represent a diverse range of sectors, including Fintech, Healthtech and Artificial Intelligence Analytics, and competed at the prestigious event by pitching to a high-level judging panel.

Tech startup Ollang was the winner of the prestigious competition. Ollang, an AI Dubbing tech startup, was selected from over 70 startups. The inaugural competition, backed by Zain, Strategy&, part of the PWC network and Amazon Web Services Activate, enables startups to pitch their business venture ideas with the aim of winning a prize and to be noticed by leading investors and institutions

Ollang joins LBS’s illustrious network of startups which has generated six unicorn businesses and supported and developed over 100 new ventures, helping them to raise an impressive £100 million in seed capital.

“I’m hugely excited by the inaugural LBS MENA Startup competition. This provides a fantastic spur to supplement our successful LBS Incubator programme, which to date has already supported more than 100 startups, helping early-stage companies to navigate their paths to growth and raise millions in seed capital,” said Ms Khedair at the conclusion of the award.

“Both the IEPC and LBS have great ambitions to drive and support entrepreneurship in the MENA region, and the competition will help elevate businesses to another level and demonstrate to the investor community what can be achieved by entrepreneurs. We are proud to be a catalyst to inspire innovation, new skills and ideas, and enable businesses to grow and partner together to become stronger.”

In a later interview on Dubai One, Jane said it was a very exciting time for entrepreneurs and the cultivation of entrepreneurship in the UAE.

“I visit Dubai several times a year and each time I see a growth in the start-up ecosystem across the region. MENA provides a perfect landscape within which to support entrepreneurship, and we are seeing the acceleration of so many start-ups just now. In terms of the teaching, counselling and mentoring support that LBS offers, research shows that more than 67 per cent of start-ups benefit from having access to a mentor. A mentor is someone who can guide a business through its early phase and support it as it grows and develops, providing a reality check and moral support. Being a founder of a new business can often be a very lonely experience and to have somebody to speak to through both good days and bad is of immense value,” said Ms Khedair.

The inaugural competition was created by the new MENA-based Entrepreneurship Club, part of London Business School’s Gulf Association, and supported by the School’s London-based Entrepreneurship Club. The new club, which was founded at the beginning of the year, brings together and supports LBS entrepreneurs and startup ventures. With its ambition to grow the School’s reputation as a global hub for venture creation, London Business School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital also provides support and encouragement to the Entrepreneurship Clubs, and the new competition.