-Top three winners received cash prizes and access to training and support
Dubai, UAE: The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced on Wednesday the top three winners of the 2nd cycle of the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition during the closing ceremony for the 5th ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai.
FriendyCar, a marketplace for borrowing and lending cars, claimed the first-place prize, while second place went to CorporateStack, a web-based solution for managing business operations. Nester, a parking rental marketplace that connects parking owners with people, placed third.
The winners were honoured by H.E. Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office, Mr. Essa Al Zaabi, Senior Vice President – Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber and General Coordinator of Tejar Dubai, in the presence of business leaders and representatives from Dubai’s entrepreneurial community.
During his welcome speech, Al Zaabi praised the innovative ideas and projects presented by participants and finalists in the competition, noting that their efforts support Dubai’s smart city vision and add value to people’s lives. He explained that entrepreneurship and innovation are key focuses of Dubai Chamber’s strategy, and described the Smartpreneur competition as an important platform that merges these two themes together.
“This competition aims to empower talented entrepreneurs and facilitate their contribution to Dubai Smart Office’s mission, while it also helps them turn their innovative business ideas into a reality,” said Al Zaabi, adding that the Chamber will continue to support participants with training and assistance to help them get their businesses off the ground.
H.E. Bin Bishr said: “I am proud of the ideas and projects that have been put forward by young entrepreneurs who have innovative, creative and pioneering skills. By launching Dubai Smartpreneur Competition, we aimed to support and develop the leadership and enterprise spirit among the youth.”
“We at Smart Dubai strive to bolster the contribution of the youth to Dubai’s process of development and smart transformation. To this effect, we seek to attract outstanding ideas and provide the necessary support for young entrepreneurs with a view to achieving the goals of the National Agenda for Youth,” she added.
Following the announcement, Abdulrahman Elgamal of FriendyCar said that his experience in the competition enabled him to gain valuable experience and exposure to many venture capital firms in the region, and added that he hopes to eventually expand the business to the rest of the GCC and Middle East region.
Osama Mortada, CEO and Co-founder of CorporateStack said: “Our ambition after such a great achievement is to grow CorporateStack and become the catalyst for SMEs. I encourage young entrepreneurs who believe in their ideas to join the competition. It’s a journey full of passion and experience that will benefit them regardless of whether they win the competition or not.”
Although the competition provided plenty of incentives, Nicolas Guillon, Co-founder of Nester, said access to coaching and training sessions was the most beneficial part, and noted that Dubai Chamber’s support helped him succeed in executing the project.
Dubai Chamber received more than 700 innovative ideas during the second cycle of the Smartpreneur competition, a 100% percent increase compared to the first cycle. A total of 50 submissions were originally shortlisted by an expert panel of judges, and the top 10 finalists were invited to pitch their ideas during the final round at ArabNet 2017.
Joining the panel of judges were Mr. Tarek Daouk, CEO – Middle East, Starcom, Mr. Khalid Al Razooqi, General Director of Dubai Police’s Smart Services Department, and Mr. Eyad Al Kourdi, UAE Country head for Mastercard Worldwide.
The competition was open to all UAE nationals and residents, and required participants to submit business ideas that support one of the Smart Dubai dimensions, namely smart economy, smart living, smart mobility, smart governance, smart environment, smart people and smart ICT infrastructure.
Other ideas that qualified for the final round included Drivu, a car service for restaurants; commercial shipping platform TruKKer Technologies; WYN for digital business training; educational platform Big History Adventures; YallaShip, a bidding platform for cargo services; and NOW Money, which can provide current accounts to people who earn less than 5,000 dirhams.