The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy's (SC) Challenge 22 regional innovation award has announced regional entrepreneurship platform AstroLabs as a Programme Partner for this year's cycle. It will support Challenge 22 by hosting introductory sessions for participants at its headquarters in Dubai on 8 November 2016. These sessions will be followed by mentoring and training programmes for teams throughout the cycle, up until the final stage.
This is the most recent addition to Challenge 22's Programme Partners, which currently include Qatar Science and Technology Park, Qatar Business Incubation Center, Qatar Development Bank and Qatar Airways. Programme Partners' key role is to integrate successful teams into incubation programmes that then transform their proposals into commercially-viable solutions.
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.
Fatma Al-Nuaimi, Legacy Senior Manager at the SC, said: "Challenge 22 aims to create an ecosystem to support the next generation of Arab innovators and entrepreneurs through a network of like-minded innovation experts, incubators and academic institutions and bodies.
"We believe in collaboration and integration with entities that share the same vision and goals as we do. Having AstroLabs on board is a key milestone in the evolution of our initiative as we enter the second cycle, and its expertise and engagement with participants and winners will add significant value to Challenge 22."
She added: "We have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the Arab minds to be innovative and contribute effectively towards hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. We encourage them to submit their ideas for Challenge 22."
During the submission phase, AstroLabs will offer participants training sessions, in which they will provide them with the tools they need to fine-tune their ideas. After the first round of shortlisted entries are announced, AstroLabs will deliver workshops to individuals and teams to help them develop their proposals for the second round of submissions.
As entries are shortlisted, they will continue to support individuals and teams through intensive training programmes to prepare them for the final event in May 2017.
Muhammed Mekki, Founding Partner of AstroLabs, spoke of his pride in the partnership: "Our decision to collaborate on Challenge 22 was fuelled by our shared mission to empower Arab innovators to build companies that make a positive impact on their societies. We look forward to enabling the selected participants to develop their start-ups through a series of AstroLabs Academy courses and tailored mentorship sessions with experts from our network.
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. Prospective participants can apply as individuals or teams consisting of a maximum of four people.
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