MITEF Saudi Arabia StartSmart 2017 Conference

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This year’s MITEF Saudi Arabia StartSmart conference took place on March 18 in Jeddah. The event, now in its second year, is organized in partnership with Community Jameel’s Bab Rizq Jameel initiative and Zain Saudi Arabia. It is meant to be an open platform for presenting ideas, and for promoting local startups and social entrepreneurship.

Local and international speakers converged to discuss the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship, technology, and digital innovation. The event featured a presentation on MIT Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies, various panels on social entrepreneurship and the future of entrepreneurship, case studies on local and international startups, and even a short film. The full agenda can be found here.

The winning teams from the 2016 MITEF Saudi Arabia Startup Competitionwere also announced.

The competition was split into three tracks: ideas, startups, and social enterprises. A panel of business experts and academics selected 27 winners, 9 from each track, out of over 2200 entrants.

The nine finalists in each track were:

  • Ideas – More than a 100 Years, Morshed, Smart Booking App, Health and comfort, Aquaponica, Wahidoon App, Packageha, Stitches, and Sense
  • Startup – Shayala App, Ajeer App, Mrsool App, Nashmi Services, Float, Gofrah, iBoat, Zayer, and Madad Services
  • Social enterprise – Tadweer, Banafsajeel, Scientific Saudi, OmCare, D. Sin Project, Axor, University Market, Ketaby Lak application, and Kararat


Ideas Track




Aquaponica Corporation was established as a real estate and agriculture company in the Western region of Saudi Arabia. A traditional business model, it is primarily focused on the design and implementation of commercial, temperature-controlled greenhouses and aquaponic agriculture. Aquaponica has identified the growing need to secure arable land in Saudi Arabia. The company expects to hit a monthly sales target of SAR 50,000 depending on the variables that are factored in with investments in the agriculture industry.

Startup Track:


Madad Services LLC


مدد للخدمات ذ م م

Madad Services is a hotel-restaurant-catering multi-vendor business-to-business e-commerce company, created to revolutionize today’s trading market by connecting suppliers and manufacturers with hotels, restaurants, and  cafes across Saudi Arabia. Our concept is simple: we don’t sell products; instead, we offer a web platform that facilitates the exchange of goods. Our goal is to digitize the regional trading market and to help businesses grow through internet technology

Social Enterprise Track



An emerging company that is developing a recycling strategy and a recycling factory, turning food-waste into organic fertilizers. Production capacity of the plant is 30 tons of fertilizers daily.


First, second, and third place winners in each track were eligible for cash prizes of SR 100,000, 25,000, and 15,000 respectively.

To view photos of the event, click here.

Watch this video for a closer look.

Meet the winners of MIT Enterprise Forum Thailand’s 2016 Startup Competition

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MIT Enterprise Forum Thailand is pleased to announce the three winners of the MITEF Thailand Startup Competition. The winners were determined during the Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship Thailand 2017 conference, a two-day event focused on building Thailand’s innovation-driven entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Ten finalist teams competed in the MIT Enterprise Forum Thailand Startup Competition, and three winning teams were determined by a panel of judges after two rounds of pitching and feedback.

The first place and second place winners won 100,000THB and 50,000THB of seed money, respectively.

Two members from each of the three winning teams will be sent to Boston for an intensive entrepreneurship workshop at MIT from June 14-20.

We look forward to helping these teams succeed faster through MIT Enterprise Forum’s programming and by connecting them to Boston’s local entrepreneurial ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, as well as to the academics, researchers, and innovators of the MIT community.

Congratulations to AIM Solution, Electronic Nose, and shiftspace!


1st Place: AIM Solution

AIM Solution is a research team led by Associate Professor Panrasee Ritthipravat and a team of graduate students from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Mahidol University. The team has been conducting research on robot-assisted therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders for the past five years. Robot-assisted communication training aims to be a tool for teachers, parents, and therapists to train children aged 5-12 with autism spectrum disorders in communication skills.

The robot is meant to make learning more fun, interactive, and engaging for autistic children. More than 100 content modules have already been developed, and the program has already been tested in five schools and a hospital. Users can freely download the existing content, and the robot control program allows users to create and design their own content according to individual needs. Efficient training sessions thus can be set up as frequently as possible to truly fit each child’s learning requirements.

TEAM: Panrasee Ritthipravat, Orrawan Kumdee, Weerayuth Chanapai, Zaw Htet Aung, Tulakan Ruangrong, and Thitikorn Kaewlee              

2nd Place: Shiftspace

Shiftspace was created out of a desire to provide omni-channel product distribution solutions to SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) entrepreneurs. The shiftspace platform utilizes the concept of “the sharing economy” to commercialize unused real estate owned by small to medium retailers, restaurants, and other spaces.

Through shiftspace, brands, products, and e-commerce businesses are connected with vacant shop-shared spaces to co-create new experiences such as pop-up spaces, product consignment, product display spaces, and other retail and commercial activities. Shiftspace aims to be the leading online marketplace in finding and renting out retail space for commercial purposes, globally.

TEAM: Taratippitak Supap, Naronglerdrit Prasitthichai, Jirachaisingh Wanich, Chirawanich Pattara, Kanjanawongpaisarn Thaweesit

3rd Place: Electronic Nose

Electronic Nose Ltd. is a startup company based out of Mahidol University. In the past decade, they have developed several lab and commercial prototypes from basic sensors to smart systems, including the electronic nose system, wireless sensor networks, sleep monitoring systems, smart shoes and smart shirts for health monitoring, and more. These prototypes and technologies can be used for a wide range of applications such as agriculture, food production, healthcare, and environmental monitoring.

Machine olfaction is a technology that digitizes odors so that systems can describe and communicate them to humans. It essentially acts as an “electronic nose”, and gives machines the power of smell by mimicking the human olfactory system. This technology can be applied to a wide range of social and industrial problems, such as development of new perfumes, quality control of industrial products, taste tests and development for food and beverages, “smart” shoes, clothing, and furniture, monitoring the quality of water, and screening for diseases like liver cancer and diabetes.

TEAM: Theerapat Pobkrut, Thara Seesaard, Chayanin Khunarak, Satetha Siyang, Teerakiat Kerdcharoen

Congratulations to the finalists of MIT Enterprise Forum Saudi Arabia’s 2017 Startup Competition!

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This article was written by the Saudi Gazette. You can find the original link here.  

The 45 semi-finalists for the 2017 MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Saudi Arabia competition have been announced.

The event, now in its second year, has been organized in partnership between Community Jameel’s Bab Rizq Jameel initiative and Zain Saudi Arabia and has three categories: ideas, startup, and social enterprise.

The semi-finalists were chosen from more than 2,200 entrants by 100 business experts and academics from Saudi Arabia and beyond who assessed the applicants’ business models according to the contest criteria. This included the creativity used to answer a concept-based, entrepreneurial, or social need; ability to expand beyond the competition itself; and making a positive impact on society.

In the startup track, judges examined each entrant’s capabilities and whether they had the potential to become effective-impact entrepreneurs with strong teams, broad experience and crucially, an expandable and promotable idea.

In the ideas track, the entry criteria targeted creative promotable and expandable ideas with the potential to provide effective social and commercial solutions and in the social track, entrants were asked to show their profitable social enterprise business.

The second round of judging will take place later this month and the panel will announce the names of the 27 finalist teams.

The overall winners will be announced on March 11 after which the top three in each track will be invited to participate in the 10th MITEF Pan Arab competition (to be held in Bahrain in April) where the best startup ideas from across the Arab world are recognised and rewarded.

Meantime, participants who have reached this stage of the Saudi Arabia competition are now eligible to participate in the Saudi StartSmart Forum, a MITEF program which is organized with the aim of encouraging, motivating, and guiding local entrepreneurs to achieve success across social and commercial and idea-based projects. The program hosts workshops directly related to technology and innovation.

Dr Sarah Ghaleb, Senior General Manager of Education and Entrepreneurship Initiatives, said: “Since the launch of the contest, MITEF Saudi Arabia has developed a rich and thorough program designed to help prepare and encourage participants to start implementing their small and medium projects. With cash prizes worth up to SAR 265,000, workshops and orientation sessions available throughout the contest period, MITEF Saudi Arabia plays an important role in supporting the development of a knowledge-based economy and an entrepreneurial spirit within Saudi Arabia.

“We are proud to be involved in such an important endeavor.”

Since the beginning of this year’s competition, MITEF has sought to promote the values and benefits of the contest by organising a series of educational tours in Saudi Arabia. Our aim is also to seek out talent and encourage entrepreneurs from various disciplines to participate.

These tours included extensive visits to universities, colleges, and entities concerned with entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia who helped us not only spread awareness of MITEF and the competition in general, but actively encouraged and inspired young men and women to create and instigate their own entrepreneurial concepts.”

Saad Al-Ahmari, Media Relations Manager at Zain Saudi Arabia, expressed his pleasure in seeing the variety of innovative ideas and businesses. He said: “The initial stages of the contest, across all the tracks, proved the ability of the participating teams to continue providing added value to the local business landscape as an extension of what the previous edition of MITEF Saudi Arabia provided.

Al-Ahamri added: “Zain Saudi Arabia partnership comes within its sustainability initiatives and support to the local start-ups. Supporting innovation and technology entrepreneurship is essential in the country’s transformation to the knowledge based economy.”

He further said Zain’s partnership in the contest comes within its sustainability initiatives and in encouraging national entrepreneurship projects, since simulation of innovation and supporting startup technical projects are within the national strategic objectives in supporting Saudi Arabia’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.

MIT Technology Review Announces New President of MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc.

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MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc., announces Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau as President. Bramson-Boudreau is also the chief operating officer of MIT Technology Review, a digitally-oriented media company founded by MIT.

“MIT Enterprise Forum is a global community of entrepreneurs with a vision to build a better world by accelerating the creation and growth of world-class technology companies,” said Bramson-Boudreau. “I am inspired by the opportunities to work together and collaborate on this goal.”

At MIT Technology Review Bramson-Boudreau has overall operational responsibility for new and existing programs and integrated product development efforts, providing leadership for the strategic planning process. She has spent nearly 20 years building and running teams in world-leading media companies. With her specialized knowledge about how media companies are commercializing content in new ways to appeal to discerning, demanding consumer and B2B audiences, Bramson-Boudreau will lead MIT Enterprise Forum’s strategy with a focus on programming.

“We are thrilled to have Elizabeth join MIT Enterprise Forum,” said Jason Pontin, chairman of MIT Enterprise Forum and CEO, editor in chief, and publisher of MIT Technology Review. “She is an insightful leader with a wealth of experience and will be a great asset to the future development of the organization.”

Elizabeth holds an executive MBA from the London Business School, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College.

About MIT Enterprise Forum

MIT Enterprise Forum is a global nonprofit dedicated to informing, connecting, and coaching technology entrepreneurs—enabling them to rapidly transform ideas into world-changing companies. We are a global network of local organizations, inspired by MIT, and open to the world. MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that is managed by MIT Technology Review, MIT’s independent media company.

MIT Enterprise Forum Greece Startup Competition Semifinalists Announced

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MIT Enterprise Forum Greece is proud to announce the 25 Semifinalists selected to advance to the next round of the MITEF Greece Startup Competition. Participating companies/teams spanned a diverse range of disciplines: 6 startups in Internet & Web, 1 in Biotechnology & Medicine, 1 in Nanotechnology, 10 in Software, 1 in Transportation, 2 in Computer & Electronics Hardware, and 4 in Other Industries.

We are excited with not just the promise of these exciting new technologies, but also by the passion of the Greek entrepreneurs who have participated in our competition.

We are looking forward to great things from the 25 startups (in alphabetical order): 10Muse, Active Social Networking (ASN), Blueline, CityCrop Automated Indoor Farming, Cube RM, Cyclefi, Datalization, Entranet, Exclusivi Ltd., FixGuard, Fresh Strips B.V., Hotelsonspot, JourneyPost, LilTECH, Metis Seagrass, OpenIchnos, QBRIQ, Save Bees, SentiGeek, SportsElectroceuticals, Spotawheel, Tesibit, 3asyR Ltd., TOORISTAS Private Company, and Wifins.

For more information about each company, feel free to take a look at their company profiles on the MITEF Greece website.

Semifinalists are now starting a three month period of intensive mentoring, with their assigned local and international mentors, and workshops, that will further their startup goals, such as: Perfect Pitch, Legal Matters, Marketing, Communication, Growth Strategies & Finance, Tax, and Human Resources, by MITEF Greece’s local and international strategic partners. Moreover, the content of this year’s program, has been enriched with learning material from entrepreneurship programs conducted at MIT and will be supported and facilitated locally by EY.

During this period participants will have a unique opportunity to improve their business skills, gain hands-on knowledge and valuable input, as well as network in Greece and abroad.

The Finals and Awards Ceremony will take place in early July, 2017.