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The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab is back with its annual Arab startup competition that they have been hosting since 2006. This year will be the 12th edition of the competition, where the winning teams will be receiving up to $160,000 in funding!

The competition splits entrepreneurs into three groups: Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship Track. The three categories each have their own criteria. The Ideas track must have their own concept and prototype, a validated business model, a mentor, and should be in the tech/digital field. The Startups should also be in the tech/digital field, have a working product, generate revenue, legally registered, have not raised funding above 1,500,000 USD. Entrepreneurs in the Social Entrepreneurship track should have all the above while addressing a social change.

The entrepreneurs that applied to the competition will be heading to Beirut on March 29 for the final competition that will determine the winners. Dum dum duum! Stay tuned.

In addition to the different tracks for startups to benefit from, there will also be talks with some interesting speakers that we took the trouble to highlight for you:

  • Hala Fadel: The Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Leap Ventures, a venture capital firm that focuses on tech startups led by entrepreneurs that operates in MENA and Europe. She is also the Founder and Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum. Feminism done right.
  • Dr. Simon Galpin: The Managing Director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) since February 2016, which has served as the catalyst for economic reform and digital transformation within the Kingdom of Bahrain by attracting and assisting companies to set up in Bahrain.
  • Ferid Belhaj: The Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa World Bank Group. From 2012-2017, Belhaj was the director for the Middle East and led the bank engagement on the Syria refugee crisis and its impact on the region.
  • Philip Bahoshy: The Founder and CEO of MAGNiTT, an online community for startups in the MENA region based in Dubai. The platform connects entrepreneurs with ecosystem stakeholders including mentors, support services, talent, etc.
  • Elie Habib: The Co-Founder of Anghami – the leading music streaming service in the Middle East and Spotify’s competitors, which has reached over 3.7 million users.
  • Nashwa Aly: The Head of Public Policy for the Middle East and North Africa at Facebook. She is to report on all issues related to public policy and government affairs in the MENA region.

Although we’ve highlighted only some of the speakers during the conference, there will be many more amazing speakers that you can learn more about here.

This conference has partnered up with the Bahrain Economic Development Board, Rowad, Bahrain Development Bank, Zain, StartUp Bahrain (that’s us!), amongst other regional and international partners.

To learn more about the competition, visit their website here.