du has announced the four winners of the du Emirati Startup Challenge launched in partnership with Zayed University and co-organised by E11 Global and Step Group.
The winners were chosen from 18 Emirati startups who made it to the final round of the Challenge.
Mabany won first place, Emit second while Fursah and Drive Less shared the third spot. The top two received cash prizes of AED25,000 and AED 15,000 respectively while the two third-place holders won AED 10,000 each.
The finalists presented their pitches to His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, and a panel of judges from Zayed University. “We are extremely proud of the startups who presented today. This is a pioneering initiative that supports the growth of entrepreneurial aspirations and skillsets both in the country and in the region,” Al Olama said.
Launched on 3 April, 2018, the Emirati Startup Challenge is a nationwide competition aimed at empowering entrepreneurial Emirati youth and preparing them to successfully contribute to UAE’s startup ecosystem. The competition invited Emirati students from universities across the UAE to submit innovative technology or social entrepreneurial startup ideas for the Challenge.
Fahad Al Hassawi, Deputy Chief Officer of Telco Services, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company said: “At du, we have supported the UAE start-up environment since our inception through a variety of du-owned and partnership platforms. Our aim has always been to give individuals the tools to succeed, thereby contributing to the wider goals of growing the UAE knowledge-based economy. The Emirati Startup Challenge seeks to nurture young talent and encourage entrepreneurship among UAE nationals.”
Selected from 30 startups, the 18 finalists underwent a two-day boot camp programme on the fundamentals of starting a business. The programme also included various workshops designed to build the various skillsets necessary to survive in the UAE’s startup ecosystem. Participants also took part in a Mentoring & Pitch programme where they gained market knowledge to enhance their business models from 14 different expert coaches.