Dubai Smartpreneur Competition at ArabNet Digital Summit 2016

Mohamad Salhab, Jun 06 2016

ArabNet’s Digital Summit 2016, concluded on a high note with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announcing the top three winners of its Smartpreneur Competition, held in collaboration with Smart Dubai Office. Since last March, the chamber has received over 350 entries which have been shortlisted to 10 finalists.

The UAE-based entrepreneurs presented, and defended, their ideas before a three-member judging panel comprised of Ayesha Sultan, Board Member at Smart City and at Dubai Holding, Abdulla Ali Al Madani CEO, Corporate Technology Support Services Sector at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and Saeed Alabbar, Director of AESG, an energy and sustainability consultancy firm.

Entrepreneurs abided by the competition criteria of being part of the transformation of Dubai into the smartest, happiest place on earth – and that includes smart economies, smart living, smart mobility, smart governance, smart environment, and smart people. The first three winners joined Tejar Dubai entrepreneurship development programme for a year – a chamber initiative which was originally open to UAE nationals only.

Here are the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition winners of one of the Digital Summit’s main attractions:

First Place Winner of AED 75,000 (around $20,000) Award: LoadMe

LoadMe is an optimization shipping tool that connects load owners through GPS tracking and smart phones apps with available trucks and pick-ups in their area. It reduces traffic, as well as the environmental footprint of trucks - 50% of them come back empty after delivery. The idea started back in the dot.com era in the United States according to Sebastian Stefan, before he adjusted LoadMe to the region’s way of doing business.

Also known as the Uber for trucks, the online platform is about to complete its first year of operations. Their 2016 service was offered free-of-charge to build a database of customers. Today they have 4,400 companies and 8,000 trucks registered, on route to become one of the largest transporters in the Middle East. LoadMe aims to include air and sea cargos in future operations.

Second Place Winners of AED 50,000 (around $14,000): Efhamni

Arabic for ‘Understand Me’, Efhamni is a learning experience that connects 20,000 deaf people in UAE, and potentially 11.2 million in the MENA with residents. It offers Arabic and sign language lessons for Dubai’s millions of expats while preserving the language, culture, and heritage that is notably on the decline among youth.

Efhamni aims to render Dubai completely disability friendly by 2020, create job opportunities for the deaf, and integrate cultures through a social network so it can be more than just a one-time learning experience. The app currently has 30 ready lessons in the form of practical phrases for everyday use with English and Arabic subtitled videos that will cost people AED 3 a month, AED 30 a year.

Third Place Winners of AED 25,000 (around $7,000): Iwant

Iwant is an on-demand platform with a unique concept that helps consumers buy anything on retailers' shelves with a push of a button. Users can take a picture of an item, with the help of AI picture recognition technology and analysis, they will be provided with a number of options to purchase from various major retailers and social media shops.

Iwant will be driving a shift in compulsive buying. It takes commission from every sale depending on category with the aim to generate AED 720 annual subscription fee from every customer – with a projection of reaching 10 thousand customers in their first year. The aim is to save time, making sure that people will find what they want delivered to them in less than two hours.

The spotlight was just as bright on the seven presentations, attracting plenty of attention during ArabNet Digital Summit, and here is a glimpse of every one of them:

Smart Labour

An initiative that provides UAE’s two million labor force with an application that connects them to family members, and doubles up as an educational chance to enhance vocational and language skills. The aim is to have a massive impact on people who are not completely integrated into the digital world, and carry on community initiatives to donate phones. Smart Labour also provides a digital currency as incentive for the completion of certain tasks. The app will be on Play Store and iOS and is currently being tested in camps.

Taqarir

A website that caters for a growing market of used cars (20% annually), tracking automobile history through Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) – the fingerprints of automobiles. The vehicle report covers the background information of a car usage (previous owners, odometer readings, accidents, recalls, etc…). Taqarir aims to expand in 3-5 years to the whole GCC.  While the project has yet to receive confirmation of collaboration with important departments such as RTA and Customs, for sharing sensitive data – creators remain positive since the project is aimed at the safety and consumer protection.

Redjani

Named after an ancient Bedouin tribe, which, unlike its peers, was not specialized in a specific type of trade, rather dealt with everything. Redjani is a platform for all types of start-ups to connect and explore the market as well as create businesses. It aims to end fraud situations, connect future entrepreneurs with payment gateways and proper logistics channels, and spark an entrepreneurship economic impact in Dubai.

Hashtracker

Hashtracker is a mobile app that doubles as an analytical tool that allows businesses to track hashtags to know their efficiency. With 70% of hashtags being branded, marketers can make smarter, more efficient campaigns based on the criteria provided by Hashtracker. The aim is for digital markets, who are the target audience, to use these tools on daily basis.

Namla

The edutainment-classified Namla aims at enhancing literary skills via augmented reality – while benefiting from increased usage of tablets among youth. Namla has already worked with the UAE Ministry of Education to develop a 3D book with cartooned animations. Namla also tested a university magazine and aims at transforming the catalogues and magazines of ministries into AR.

24/7Venues

24/7Venues is a venue booking service platform for any type of event in Dubai, with a USD 2,000 standard commission charged upon completion of booking. According to the creators, there is more demand than supply in Dubai. 24/7Venues have 200 venues lined up including art galleries, cinemas, and sports venues and will launch an app in the next stage. Venues pay with contracts, an arrangement similar to tourist companies – with no barriers to entries.

Quickbytz

Quickbytz a one-stop solution for food-court patrons to receive their food faster and avoid queues. Receiving 4% on every transaction – Quickbytz allow customers to book and track their order, anywhere within the vicinity of the food court. Users then receive a simple app or sms notification, and pay when their food is ready.  Quickbytz sees unlimited potentials in targeting untapped areas like airports and office buildings.  

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