A UAE start-up that turns junk into robots has won first place in the Seedstars GCC – Regional Start-up competition at Corporate Hub Nine, Amwaj Islands.
It was amongst 11 finalists from Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman competing for the main prize equity investment up to $1 million besides representing the region in the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland.
Bahrain’s start-up WNNA, which is a driven contextual search that uses big open data and semantic web to provide users with personalised recommendations and actions, won second place.
In third place was Bahrain’s Glare that provides university students, interviewees willing to overcome glossophobia (fear of public speaking) a platform to rehearse and improve speech via modern technology.
Saudi start-up Mathaqi, which is an online platform of meals curated by talented home chefs, won the public vote award.
The Seedstars GCC 2017 event was supported by the Economic Development Board and Start-up Bahrain under the patronage of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Al Zayani.
Mr Al Zayani deputised industry Under-Secretary Osama Al Arrayedh to attend the finale of the competition.
“This event that brings together entrepreneurs and investors to showcase innovative projects and exchange new ideas can promote economic opportunities,” said Mr Al Arrayedh.
“Bahrain has boosted government’s regulations and focused on promoting start-ups since it has recognised the importance of ICT (information and communication technology) in facilitating start-ups, and innovation alongside the technology integration in management of SMEs (small and medium enterprises),” he added.
“This was achieved through establishing and regulating the activity of business acceleration/incubation in March this year.
“To date there are more than 10 licensed incubators and over 40 registered start-ups.”
He added that accelerators/incubators combine the mix of traditional products with innovative applications for producing, marketing and distributing services.
“It is a promising initiative for the next several years.”
Mr Al Arrayedh praised the commitment to innovation and the start-ups facilitation that are fundamental in boosting the growth rate of SMEs through ICT integration.
“To build a successful 21st century economy, vibrant small and medium enterprises are fundamental. A continuous informative technological innovation has recently risen to achieve a high level of economy-building elements,” he said.
“Bahrain has marked sustainable efforts towards creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Key resources such as simplification of procedures, improvement of access to finance, start-up promotion, protection of intellectual property have been implemented.”
He added that Bahrain’s prime location provides start-ups a unique advantage in developing business models that can tap into growing markets.
“It is a place for ambitious entrepreneurs who challenge themselves to be global players to launch their start-ups with a world-class infrastructure and supporting ecosystem that will enable them to focus on their business plans to achieve their goals.”