8 MENA startups win Hub71 MENA growth competition

The All Arab MIT Enterprise Forum and Hub71 have announced eight winners for the second edition of the Hub71 MENA growth competition, Emirati.News reports.

The winners were selected from a group of semi-finalists of the Arab Startup Competition in the MITEF Startup Competition in the last three sessions (11th, 12th and 13th sessions), the same source said.

More than 50 startups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have applied for the Abu Dhabi-based Hub71 Incentive Program, which includes 50 or 100 percent of subsidized housing, office space, and medical insurance for founders and employees for up to three years – worth up to 3 million dinars (US$800,000) in free equity subsidies.

The technical ecosystem at the heart of Abu Dhabi also provides guidance to startups, global market potential and capital through a network of strategic partners such as Mubadala, SoftBank Vision, Abu Dhabi World Market, Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Microsoft, the source added.

The competition marks a new turning point for the mena startup community, which saw a 67 per cent decline in the number of transactions made in March 2020, compared to March 2019.

As startups seek to improve access to capital, entrepreneurs have also recognized the importance of strong and reliable ecosystems, as well as favorable government policies that support startups during difficult times caused by the epidemic.

Hub71 recently announced a pandemic support package covering residential and office space rent for all its existing employees in more than 50 startups for two months, reinforcing Abu Dhabi and Hub71’s commitment to supporting and developing its technology startup ecosystem.

Half of this year’s applicants are from Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia and are start-ups in the seed phase. Sixy-three percent of applicants said they had applied because of stock-free incentives. Among the applicants were HealthTech, Agritech and EdTech.

The competition culminated in an online trial day on June 1, 2020, with the judges selecting eight of the 10 finalists for this year’s Hub71 MENA Growth Competition 2.0.

Among the winners is Praxilabs in Egypt, a startup at EdTech that aims to provide an equal opportunity to promote STEM education to students everywhere by providing 3D interactive virtualization of accessible, usable and affordable science labs for educational institutions and students alike. The other winner, Trila, is a technology platform that connects shippers to carriers in the widely fragmented shipping industry with the task of stimulating the structure with the aim of improving efficiency throughout the entire supply chain.

HealthTech has witnessed Basma, a Lebanese-based medical device company reimagining and reinventing the way in which to deliver orthotic and restorative therapy and deliver it to thousands of people, among the winners of the competition.


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