Meet the Winners of the du Emirati Startup Challenge
du, an Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, announced last week the four winners of the du8 Emirati Startup Challenge launched in partnership with Zayed University and co-organized by E11 Global and Step Group. The winners were chosen from 18 Emirati startups selected for the final round of the Challenge.
The finalists presented their pitches to His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, as well as a panel of judges from Zayed University. Mabany came in first place and received AED 25K, Emit came in second place and won AED 15K, while Fursah and Drive Less shared third place and won AED 10K each.
Launched in April, the Emirati Startup Challenge is a nationwide competition aimed at empowering Emirati youth with an entrepreneurial drive and preparing them to successfully contribute to the UAE’s startup ecosystem. The competition invited Emirati students from universities across the UAE to submit innovative technology or social entrepreneurial startup ideas.
His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence welcomed the finalists at the event and said: “We are extremely proud of the startups who presented today. This is a pioneering initiative that supports the growth of entrepreneurial aspirations and skillsets both in the country and in the region.”
Selected from 30 startups, the 18 finalists underwent an intensive two-day boot camp program on the fundamentals of starting a business and the program also included various workshops designed to build the various skillsets necessary to survive in the UAE’s startup ecosystem. Participants also took part in a Mentoring & Pitch program where they gained market knowledge to enhance their business models from 14 diverse expert coaches.
“The exceptional quality of the proposals we received is testament to the bright ideas and immense young talent the UAE has to offer. These ideas will hopefully turn into viable businesses that can contribute to the UAE's economy and will be the provider of thousands of employment opportunities in the future,” said Yousuf AlMulla, Co-founder of E11 Global.
According to MAGNiTT, out of 5,600 startups listed on the platform, 30% of MENA startups are based in the UAE. The nationwide competition was launched to complement the SME landscape in the country as well as support tech-startups and the creation of innovative business models in the UAE.