The winners were selected following the presentation of 17 ventures
startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, NYUAD, and powered by its partner Tamkeen, has today announced the winners of its Youth Entrepreneurship Programme.
The three-month programme, which initially kicked off during UAE Innovation Week, supports university students between the ages of 18-25 to advance tech-enabled startup projects. The winners were selected following the presentation of 17 ventures to an esteemed judging panel in an online, public showcase event this week. Three projects were recognised and rewarded with cash prizes worth US$ 5,000. SolarGridX, a platform that allows individuals to own and earn ROI through solar panels, won first prize of US$ 3,000. Finllect, a financial literacy app, was awarded second prize worth US$1,500. BestBy, an e-commerce platform that fights food waste by monitoring and providing sellers and customers access to food items close to best-by dates at discounted prices, won third prize worth USD 500. Lastly, EdTech startup, Jagged, was nominated for Sandooq Al Watan’s National Impact Award.
Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said, "The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MoCCAE, is proud to support the startAD Youth Entrepreneurship Program for the third consecutive year. Over the past two editions, we have seen some very impressive projects that have reinforced our belief in our youth as our hope for a better tomorrow."
He added, "startAD shares the Ministry’s objectives of engaging young people in identifying pioneering solutions to the most pressing challenges of today, and helping them translate their innovative ideas into reality. In addition, it invests in budding national talent in line with the vision of the wise UAE leadership. We value the commitment of NYUAD and all partners of this initiative to nurturing sustainability-focused entrepreneurship in the country."
A total of 67 youth entrepreneurs from eight universities across the UAE advanced tech-enabled startup projects ranging from innovative EdTech platforms and wearable devices to aid children with autism, to a creative, tech-enabled hardware tool to teach DNA sequencing and a tokenized solar energy investment platform. Acting Director-General of Sandooq Al Watan Ahmed Mahmoud Fikri said, "We at Sandooq Al Watan are very proud to support the Youth Entrepreneurship Program of startAD.
Our National Impact Awards aims at supporting Emirati entrepreneurs in developing and growing their technology startups and we are happy to announce the award nominee, Jagged." startAD Managing Director and NYUAD Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ramesh Jagannathan said, "Aligned with the UAE vision 2071, our mission at startAD will continue to be, and always has been, to support early-stage startup ventures by acting as a catalyst to disrupt industries that contribute to the growth of the local economy." Founding team member of SolarGridX, Hardik Bhatia commented, "We will continue these connections and these learnings as we move forward from this programme."
Over the last three years, more than 150 young entrepreneurs have incubated their projects at startAD.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, MENA's startups saw an increase in funding in Q1 2020. Find out more in our Q1 2020 MENA Venture Investment Report which is hot off the digital press HERE