The workshops – which took place in Doha – focused on fundraising, pitching techniques and business development for start-ups. Semi-finalists from across the MENA regions were invited to Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) where they were hosted by Muhammed Mekki and Louis Lebbos, founding partners at AstroLabs.
Ahsan Mansoor, Challenge 22 Project Manager at the SC, said: “It was very exciting to have so many innovators from across the Arab world gathered in Doha and to be able to help them learn how to take their projects to the next level. Over 20 teams of the 76 qualified for the second round attended the workshops.”
He added: “This is why we believe in working with entities that share the same vision and goals as we do. AstroLabs’ expertise and engagement with Round 2 applicants has added significant value to Challenge 22.”
Meanwhile, Louis Lebbos said: “Over these two days we were happy to work with a diverse group from all over the region. They were interested in the workshop topics, also very passionate about their ideas, and open to learning the key valuable skills for any start-up founder.”
He added: “From the beginning we were impressed by the reach of Challenge 22 and how many start-ups from 10 Arab countries have access to this competition and will get exposed to quality training and mentorship which increases the programme’s impact.”
Faisal Alferdos, founder of Nearmotion, one of the semi-finalists from Saudi Arabia, said: “The topics are well selected and tailored for any start-up’s needs. These workshops will help us to transfer our ideas to investors and get funding along with developing our business and bringing new customers, while also helping us to present them in front of the judging panel if we make it to the final of Challenge 22.”
Now in its second cycle, Challenge 22 is looking for entrepreneurs who offer innovative solutions to the challenges faced by major events such as the FIFA World Cup™ across four categories: Tourism Experience, Sustainability, Health & Safety and the Internet of Things.
Challenge 22 was launched by the SC to promote a culture of innovation in the region and attract entrepreneurs, scientists and pioneers from across the Arab world.
For the programme’s second cycle it has expanded its reach to ten countries in the region, including Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.
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