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April 13, 2022

$10k in Cash Prizes and Pitch in Amsterdam for Startups

The incubation programme by SPARK and Startups Without Borders, created with support from Google.org, supports 130 entrepreneurs in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq. Ten semi-finalist startups will win a trip to pitch in Amsterdam during SPARK’s annual IGNITE conference for $10,000 in cash prizes.

SPARK is partnering with Startups Without Borders to launch the Startups On The Move Incubation programme, with support from Google.org. The programme entails a 5-month incubation and mentorship programme to equip 130 entrepreneurs in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, with the tools to succeed, and prepare them for the final pitching competition in Amsterdam.

The incubation programme, that kicked off on April 21st, aims to strengthen the skills of young aspiring entrepreneurs of both refugee and local backgrounds, providing training on fundamental business skills, including business planning, financial planning, business modelling, and investor pitching.

The programme will also focus on providing digital skills training, leveraging on Google’s array of digital solutions, as well as mentorship, and support to register their businesses through a series of seminars focused on incorporation across different markets, including the US, UK, EU and the Middle East.

Through Startups Without Borders international network of mentors, the programme will also activate personalised mentorship sessions, giving entrepreneurs an extraordinary opportunity to get guidance and support from seasoned professionals and global industry leaders.

After the incubation programme, startups will pitch their businesses at the semi-final online, and 10 finalists will be awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Amsterdam to pitch on the global stage during SPARK’s annual IGNITE Conference 2022 in Amsterdam. The winning startups will battle it out for cash prizes of $10,000 in the first place, while the second-place winner will receive $5,000.

“We are thrilled to partner with SPARK and Google.org to support entrepreneurs to launch successful tech startups in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq. For the past years, we’ve been working to build a startup ecosystem where entrepreneurs are not limited by their passports, and this programme is a crucial step towards fostering innovation where it is most needed. Together with SPARK and Google.org, the Startups on the Move programme will sow the seeds for thriving, innovative startups that scale beyond borders,” said Valentina Primo, founder and CEO of Startups Without Borders.

“We are delighted to be Google.org grantees. The support from Google.org is opening doors for us to provide sustainable job opportunities for refugees and youth in the Middle East in markets that are in growing demand and responding to global trends. With the grant, we’ll support new tech startups and job placements in the tech and digital sectors across underserved and refugee communities in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine,” said Leontine Specker, Regional Programme Director (Middle East) at SPARK.

Startups On The Move is calling on students, young professionals, and entrepreneurs in Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, who have business ideas to transform them into startups ready to take on the world. Startups in the idea and early-stage are eligible to apply, no matter the industry. Refugee founders are encouraged to apply.