MIT Enterprise Forum Kick-Starts the 4th MIT Arab Business Plan Competition

MIT Enterprise Forum Kick-Starts the 4th MIT Arab Business Plan Competition
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Published October 24th, 2010 - 10:40 GMT

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MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Co., the region's leading supporter of CSR programs, announced, at a special ceremony held at the King Hussein Business Park in Amman, the launch of the 4th MIT Arab Business Plan Competition; the first of its kind in the Arab world designed to encourage all entrepreneurs in the region to start their own company and, ultimately, create a nest of unique and inspiring role models.

Patronized by Princess Sumaya Bint El-Hassan, the 4th edition of the competition follows the successful closing of the 3rd MIT Arab Business Plan Competition where some of the Middle East and North Africa's most promising entrepreneurs were recognized in a glittering gala in Cairo in June 2010. The winning team came from Lebanon, while the 1st runner up came from Egypt and 2nd runner up was given to two teams from Yemen and Egypt.

The competition which accepts entries from all Arab countries is modeled around the famous MIT 100K Entrepreneurship Competition, based at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Boston. It is tailored to encourage students and researchers to act on their talent, ideas and energy to produce tomorrow's leading firms.

Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region, encouraged all interested candidates from across the Arab world to apply. Commenting on the launch, she said: "The humble start of the competition which grew to become a much anticipated phenomenon can be really felt through the success of the entrepreneurs around the region and today we are witnessing the fourth edition of this competition which is built on the unmatched success of the previous ones."

The objective of the competition, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Co., the region's leading supporter of CSR programs, is for these future entrepreneurs to submit their business proposals and work hard to win this competition – the best idea being the winning one. Through means of this competition, the MIT Emprise Forum is keen on empowering those winning entrepreneurs and helping them take their business ideas to the next level.

The ceremony's keynote speaker, Fadi Ghandour, Founder and CEO of Aramex, said: "Our long term vision for our region is about supporting entrepreneurs and providing them with an enabling environment to, thrive, where individuals and institutions are empowered and encouraged to actively contribute to innovation-driven knowledge-based economies and build responsible communities." He added: "The MIT Arab Business Plan Competition is an excellent platform that allows aspiring entrepreneurs to learn and acquire the skills needed in order to start their own businesses."

Furthermore, a new partnership - MIT Enterprise Forum and Aramex Entrepreneurs Lab, was also unveiled at the ceremony, aiming at becoming a support unit for the promising MIT Arab Business Plan promising applicants. Stemming from Aramex's stakeholder approach, and as a reflection of its culture and values; both Aramex and MIT Enterprise Forum are hoping to leverage their expertise, infrastructure and network and put them at the service of entrepreneurs.

The MIT Arab Business Plan Competition is organized in three rounds and will run over a period of eight months. During Round 1, teams are required to submit an online application form. 30 applications, reflecting the best conceptual business ideas and means of implementing them, are then selected to qualify for the next round and attend a two-day workshop led by professors from MIT, in Beirut. In Round 2, the corresponding 30 teams are required to present a full-fledged business plan following their ideas. Nine of the most solid business plans of innovative, scalable and impactful projects are then selected to qualify for the third and final round.

Throughout Round 3, finalists are required to orally present in front of a jury composed of high-profile entrepreneurs and renowned business people from around the Arab world. Interpersonal skills are evaluated and the winning teams need to convince the jury of their passion for their project and their ability to sell their idea and carry it through. The jury panel will carefully evaluate the teams' business plans and presentations and consequently three winning teams are finally selected.

The first place winner will receive $50,000 in prize money, while the 1st runner-up gets $10,000 and the 2nd runner-up $5,000.

Launched in Beirut in 2006, where a strong and active alumni community is concentrated, the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region is one of the eight international chapters of the MIT Enterprise Forum, global office. Though it is headquartered in Lebanon, the Pan Arab Region chapter serves the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf. 

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