Young Arab entrepreneurs compete to win million dollar funding

Published July 1st, 2006 - 02:52 GMT

The Arab Business Challenge (the Challenge) — premiering at 6:00pm on Al Arabiya News Channel on June 30th — is a pan-Arab business plan competition of 200 teams of entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) vying to be among the two finalists to each win up to US$ 1 million in funding, for a chance to translate their business ideas into reality. The competition, an initiative of the Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN) and the Young Arab Leaders (YAL), will air as a TV series of 12 episodes on Al Arabiya News Channel, counting down to the final episode in September 2006.

The teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges comprised of renowned Arab business leaders, in Challenge Centers located in Dubai, Amman, Beirut and Cairo. The judges will help the entrepreneurs realize their dreams by providing access to a powerful pool of resources, including mentorship, networking and capital.

Business plan submissions for the Challenge began in January 2006.  Over 1,000 teams registered for participation, with representation from all 18 countries in the MENA region targeted by the Challenge: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The Challenge offers the two winning business plans the funding necessary to start up their business. Capital funding of up to US$ 1 million for each of the two finalist plans will be provided by Dubai International Capital (DIC), a global investment company and the founder of ABAN.

“Dubai International Capital is proud to sponsor the Challenge in order to promote the spirit of innovation across the Arab world, and to offer the opportunity for a group of young Arab entrepreneurs to see their dreams become reality,” said Sameer Al Ansari, the CEO of DIC and a member of the Young Arab Leaders. “Through this TV programme, we hope to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship amongst viewers. We also hope to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in the Arab world, and to empower them to act on their ideas.”

YAL, the co-organizing partner of the Challenge, has identified a pool of leading businesswomen and businessmen from among its members to coach the teams from the early stages of the Challenge until the final evaluation in September 2006.


BACKGROUND:
The Arab Business Challenge is the first initiative of the Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN), both of which were conceived by the Young Arab Leaders and Dubai Holding during the Clinton Initiative in September 2005.  Dubai International Capital was entrusted with the roll out of both initiatives.
The Challenge is supported by the following partners: Dubai International Capital, the Young Arab Leaders, Al-Arabiya TV, McKinsey & Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the American University in Dubai, the Lebanese American University and Yarmouk University in Jordan.
About ABAN:
The Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN) was conceived by the Young Arab Leaders and Dubai Holding during the Clinton Initiative in September 2005, with Dubai International Capital as its founder and lead Angel.

As a Business Angels Network, ABAN is the link between entrepreneurs and Angel Investors. It acts as a vehicle to promote entrepreneurship and to build a community of Angel Investors across the Arab world.

Based in Dubai, ABAN aims to build a network of subsidiary offices across the region. It will complement the economic development objectives of the Arab world by facilitating the development of creative and productive entrepreneurial ventures.

 

 


About Dubai International Capital:
Established in 2004, Dubai International Capital (DIC) is a Dubai-based, international investment company that primarily focuses on private equity. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai Holding.
DIC manages an international portfolio of diverse assets that provide its stakeholders with value growth, diversification, and strategic investments and relationships.
DIC’s expanding portfolio includes:
 US$ 1.5 billion acquisition of The Tussauds Group (UK), the largest operator of visitor attractions in Europe.

 US$ 1.2 billion acquisition of Doncasters Group (UK), an industrial manufacturing firm that produces precision engineering components across various industrial sectors.

 US$ 1 billion investment in DaimlerChrysler, making it the company's third largest shareholder.

 US$ 300 million in commitments to private equity funds, across the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America.

 US$ 294 million investment company Jordan Dubai Capital (JD Capital), targeting investment opportunities in Jordan.

 US$ 150 million investments by Ishraq Holding, bringing the world’s leading budget hospitality brand, Express by Holiday Inn, to the GCC.

Dubai International Capital is poised to expand its investment base to early stage investment opportunities by founding ABAN and positioning itself as its lead Angel Investor.
About Young Arab Leaders:

The Young Arab Leaders is a network of Arab men and women who have seen the power of action in their own lives, reached unprecedented levels of success for their age, are positive, can see beyond today’s challenges, and envision a prosperous future for the Arab world. These leaders are currently in prominent positions of responsibility and are destined for extraordinary achievement, and they believe that their efforts today can have an impact on their communities, countries and the region as a whole.

Better opportunities for education, new means of income generation and a belief in the ability to achieve is what will help Arab youth become tomorrow’s leaders. Members of Young Arab Leaders bring together their capabilities and resources to building the necessary environment that will facilitate the way for tomorrow’s young Arab leaders.

Each year, the Young Arab Leaders commit to implementing an Action Plan that sets the strategic vision of the organization. They undertake projects focusing on mentorship and education, while producing sector-specific plans that aim to increase income generation opportunities for youth.


 


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