The Saudi National Finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) took place yesterday, with fourteen of the best startups in the Kingdom pitching their business ideas at an interactive virtual event.
The overall winner selected by the judges was Talon Dust Control, a company based at KAUST that provides dust control and soil stabilization solutions to customers in the GCC and MENA regions. The five other winners were:
- 2nd place – Edama Organic Solutions: develops organic waste recycling solutions designed specifically for desert climate conditions.
- 3rd place – BrightSign: has developed a smart glove that can translate any form of sign language to any language, to help people with hearing and speech disabilities.
- 4th place – Upskillable: a people analytics company that helps employers make smart recruitment and people development decisions.
- 5th place – PereGrine Genomics: a company that leverages big data and advanced analytics, such as artificial intelligence, to deliver accurate and effective healthcare to society on a personalized basis.
- 6th place – MIQYAS: a company that maximizes efficiency for fashion e-commerce companies by giving customers confidence in the accuracy of online sizes.
The event was one of many EWC National Finals taking place around the world. Judges select the top companies from each event, with the winners progressing to the Global Finals that are being held as part of the Misk Global Forum annual gathering from 18-20 of October. Overall, this year’s EWC has attracted 174,000 entrants from 200 countries.
As well as progressing to the Global Finals, all six winning Saudi startups each received a cash prize of US$50,000. Fifteen thousand Saudi startups applied to take part in the National Finals, and all of them benefitted from free online services provided through the EWC platform.
Speaking at the start of the National Finals, Misk Foundation CEO, Dr Badr AlBadr described the event as “an important milestone in the EWC journey.” He added, “Due to challenges brought by COVID-19, we had to find creative ways to overcome challenges. We’ve pushed harder to deliver digitally an even better experience than last year. Thanks to the virtual format, we have around 75% more people engaged and connected.”
Dr AlBadr said that Misk was involved with the EWC because “we believe that in order to empower youth, we need to give them the tools and show them the path ; and one of the future paths for young leaders is entrepreneurship.” He continued, “Even if you don’t win today, it doesn’t matter as you might eventually be the most successful entrepreneur. Keep going and don’t give up.”
The finale of the event involved the 14 finalists pitching for three minutes each, before answering two minutes of questions from the judges.
The National Finals also featured three live panel discussions during which distinguished entrepreneurship experts explored the event’s theme – Overcoming Challenges: how new businesses can overcome obstacles to achieve success.
In his closing remarks, Abdulrahman Al Suhaymi, Misk’s lead for the Entrepreneurship World Cup, thanked all involved in the event. He said, “We were very happy and inspired by pitches whose founders presented with ambition, fearlessness and passion.”