Meet the winners of the Startup Roadshow-Wired
SPARK and Jusoor’s startup competition recently awarded a total of $60k in cash prizes to six startups and SMEs in the Middle East.
The annual Startup Roadshow has been a silver lining in the dark clouds of the pandemic. While established companies and small businesses alike struggled in the wake of global lockdowns and economic hardship, SPARK and Jusoor have been working with 6,000 entrepreneurs from across Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq to enable new startups and SMEs to grow.
In February 2021, the competition funded by Qatar Fund For Development, launched a virtual bootcamp called ‘No Entrepreneur Left Behind’. The bootcamp engaged the 6,000 entrepreneurs in intensive workshops and mentorship programmes for six months to ensure businesses are digital-ready and able to weather the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
Fifty businesses and startup ideas then went onto the incubation phase, where teams received three months of training, including 50+ hours of specialised group business training, 600+ hours of one-on-one mentorship, 100+ hours of one-on-one legal and marketing consultation, and direct business services. From the 50 businesses, the top 13 teams showcased their companies at the virtual Demo Day on July 8th, competing for cash prizes. Two first-place winners (one startup and one SME) received $15,000, second place winners received $10,000 each and third place winners received $5,000.
First Place Winners
Jar Thuraya is an SME online shop that showcases hand-crafted delicacies by Lebanese women, contributing to both empowering women and celebrating Lebanon’s natural resources.
Harika Şef is a startup that delivers pre-packed meal boxes in Turkey. Each cook-at-home package contains the exact ingredients needed to make particular meals and come with illustrated instructions.
Second Place Winners
Shafak is an established educational centre providing courses to Syrians and Arabs in Turkey and the Arab world.
Find a Nurse is a new startup that helps families find and hire home care providers sourced via local agencies through an online platform.
Third Place Winners
Eduba is a modern educational company that offers the ability to learn by following best practices, distance education, customised lesson plans, managed assignments, and complete evaluations.
Counsela is a new startup offering anonymous, virtual and affordable psychological counselling directed at Lebanon.
The Demo Day featured several keynote speakers, including Ronaldo Mouchawar, VP of Amazon MENA and co-founder of Souq.com; Ahmad Nehlawi, Vice President of the Board of Directors at Jusoor; and Mohammed Skaik, Regional Business Development Manager at SPARK. The 13 top teams showcased their projects to the judges, including Rasha Manna, General Manager of Flat6Labs in Jordan; Amr Seif, c-suite investment professional; Islam Mahdy, Chairman & CEO of Credence; and Amr Fikry, Managing Partner at Lorax Capital Partners.
Additionally, a panel discussion was also held to cover “Investing in Syrian and Host Community Entrepreneurs in the Middle East.” Panellists included Abdulsalam Haykal, Founder and Executive Chairman of Majarra; Dania Ismail, Co-founder of Jusoor and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program; and Hesham Halbouny, Partner – Man Capital London. The ceremony was presented by Racha Ghamlouch, Co-Chief Aggregator at Digital Digest.
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