Khalifa Fund and startAD reveal six final teams to compete at Ibtikari program 5.0

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) and startAD, the innovation and entrepreneurship platform at New York University Abu Dhabi, announced today, October 30, 2019, the six final teams that will compete at the Ibtikari program 5.0, a five-month incubation program designed to help UAE nationals advance their tech startups. The six were selected out of the eight teams that presented their tech startup ideas during the program’s pitching day held at KFED’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

The final six projects are ‘Arabee,’ a fun, interactive, comprehensive, progressive, multi-format Arabic language program designed to teach Arabic to children aged 3-12 years old;  the environment-friendly ‘Blanco Oral Care’ project, an innovative toothpaste tablet in a glass jar; ‘Plexo Gaming,’ an online e-sport tournament platform allowing players in the Middle East to monetize their passion; ‘Snakat Café,’ a platform that displays, markets, delivers, and sells homecooked food and desserts; ‘Solar Smart Cell’ startup, which designs and manufactures solar-powered smart vehicles; and ‘SPL Technology’ project, which is designed to semi-automate cloud migration process.

Mouza Al Nasri, Acting Chief Executive Officer, KFED, said: “Both KFED and startAD will continue to work closely with the six final teams up until the conclusion of the Ibtikari program in February 2020. We will see to it that the Emirati finalists will receive the right support to ensure their success in the business world. We are glad to be part of the Ibtikari program in partnership with startAD, which, similar to us at KFED, aims to empower Emirati entrepreneurs and flourish a culture of entrepreneurship in the country. On behalf of KFED, I would like to congratulate all eight teams that presented during the pitching day. We are all proud of you. As for our six finalists, kudos to them and I wish them the best of luck.”

Through Ibtikari, KFED can further promote entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation among UAE youth as well as boost the competitiveness of the Emirati-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Al Nasri said these are in line with KFED’s mission to help accelerate the growth of startups and SMEs as well as establish a prosperous and innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

For his part, Ramesh Jagannathan, Vice Provost of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYUAD and Managing Director of startAD, commented: “startAD is continuing its impactful journey with Khalifa Fund, a strategic partner, to help build the UAE Emirati entrepreneurial capacity. The Ibtikari 5.0, a customized, 5-month incubation program to support tech-enabled startups founded by Emirati entrepreneurs is a powerful example of our partnership. We are excited to see the tremendous progress made by the startups in the last month and look forward to them becoming successful role models in the rapidly crystallizing UAE ecosystem.”

The finalists will advance to the incubation phase of the Ibtikari program. During this stage, they will undergo a series of customized training sessions, workshops, and one-on-one meetings with their Ibtikari mentors. The teams will also have an opportunity to connect with local and global corporate partners, prospective clients, and industry experts. This engagement will be staged to help them expand their networks and advance their businesses. Additionally, KFED will give the six teams grants worth AED 10,000 as well as AED 25,000 grant to one of the finalists. Their projects will also be evaluated by KFED and startAD for possible further funding.

During Ibtikari’s pitching day, the eight participating teams presented their projects before a panel of judges who evaluated the program fit and the potential or scalability of each initiative. The panelists also provided constructive feedback to the participating teams. The pitching day was held after an intensive seven-day boot camp during which the eight were taught how to best present their proposals.

The startAD-organized Ibtikari program, is powered by KFED as part of its efforts to raise the efficiency level of start-ups and SMEs. KFED supports local entrepreneurs by building their capabilities, providing them access to financing and service options, and helping expand their networks, among others.

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