|09 October, 2019

Unique and highly-creative business ideas help four Emirati entrepreneurs shine as top winners at 2019 Pitch@Palace UAE

Winning entries announced in awarding ceremony held in the presence of H.E Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York

The four Emirati winners with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York

The four Emirati winners with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York

  • Winners to represent the UAE in coming Pitch@Palace GCC in Bahrain this November 

Abu Dhabi: The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) has announced four innovative Emirati entrepreneurs as the top winners of this year's edition of Pitch@Palace UAE during an awarding ceremony held today (October 09, 2019) at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. H.E Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and His Royal Highness (H.R.H.) Prince Andrew, the Duke of York were present to award the four winners who bested this year's batch of 12 entrepreneurs that pitched their unique and highly creative business ideas across a distinct panel of judges.

‘Aryam’ project, which offers cooling suits to help workers contend with high weather temperatures to be able to work effectively; the ‘Arabee’ project, which provides children with a comprehensive Arabic language learning program that encompasses songs, games, flash cards, worksheets and storybooks; ‘Doctorsae.com,’ a web-based platform for all health entities in the UAE where patients can easily search for doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies; the ‘Rafeeq’ application, which is a platform that links home owners with licensed maintenance and decoration service providers in the UAE, were judged as the top four entries for this year's competition and will now advance to represent the UAE at the coming Pitch@Palace GCC 2.0, which will be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain on November 27, 2019. The four winning entries will also compete and represent the UAE at Pitch@Palace Global to be held at St. James Palace in London in December 2019.

12 years of excellence and leadership 

 H.E.Hussain Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman, KFED, said, "Over the last three years, Pitch@Palace UAE has received strong response and remarkable success, proving itself as a strategic platform in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the UAE. The competition has also helped in providing Emirati entrepreneurs with the opportunity to highlight their projects across a global audience of influential figures that can help them transform their creative ideas into a thriving and sustainable reality."

"We first launched this competition in 2016 as part of KFED’s strategy to promote entrepreneurship across the country, bolster and promote the culture of freelancing and amplify the work of entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. We also aim at providing them with the opportunity to meet industry experts and receive support, mentoring, financing solutions and the opportunity to connect with local and global stakeholders and hear from industry experts to promote a self-employment environment within the country," he added.

H.E. shared that Pitch@Palace UAE affirms Abu Dhabi's leading position as an international hub for innovation. He expressed the KFED's continuing commitment to provide needed mentoring and support to innovative entrepreneurs so they can effectively develop and validate a scalable business model. The fund's vision is centered on providing a nurturing environment for youngsters to create and foster competitive business in Abu Dhabi and all over UAE.

"The previous editions of Pitch@Palace UAE has successfully helped Emirati entrepreneurs in providing them with the opportunity to pitch before a global audience of elite entrepreneurs," said Al Nowais.

H.E. stressed on the KFED's commitment to fulfill its mission to enhance the efficiency of Emirati entrepreneurs and SMEs by empowerment and provision of financing solutions. He stated that the KFED has placed top priority in giving entrepreneurs with the opportunity to meet people and stakeholders that help them along with early-stage businesses, including CEOs, influencers, mentors and business partners.

Al Nowais thanked the support of H.R.H. Prince Andrew in helping make Pitch@Palace UAE a success, which was created to guide Emirati entrepreneurs and impart entrepreneurial skills to increase self-efficacy of the entrepreneurs leading to the achievement of economic diversification and growth. He also acknowledged local and strategic partners of this year’s competition, who have widely contributed to the success of the event. H.E. further praised this edition’s batch of creative and innovative projects, saying that all ideas sought to utilize technology in serving mankind and improve standards of living.

H.R.H. Prince Andrew stated: “It’s great pleasure to welcome you to Pitch@Palace UAE 3.0, and to be able to showcase the incredible innovation going on in the UAE. Please remember that this organization is about collaboration and working together as a team. We’re not here to pick winners, we’re here to help the businesses grow. All of us can make an enormous difference to these businesses by the things we can do for them.”

Technology serving humans 

Pitch@Palace UAE encourages participating entrepreneurs to leverage the technological potential of ICT, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide smart solutions necessary in the move to enhance the quality of life in societies and communities. This year's competition was held under the theme, 'Technology serving Humans.' Projects of the participants were presented from a scientific and technical perspective where competitors explored the potential impact of technology on people's daily lives. The competition aims to support the national intentions to promote SMEs in the UAE, which falls in line with the efforts of the UAE’s wise leadership to support innovation among youngsters in compliance with UAE Vision 2021 to achieve economic diversification within the country.

Abu Dhabi: The lighthouse for innovation 

During the awarding ceremony, a special video was previewed showcasing key moments of this year's competition, from its initial stages to the recently held bootcamp and final rounds. The 12 finalists presented their pitches across a panel of judges, followed by the voting and the announcement of the top four winners.

The KFED also organized an exhibition entitled, 'Khalifa Fund Innovation Oasis,' which was held on the sidelines of the event. The exhibition featured some of the fund's and its strategic partners’ innovative projects, including the 'Khalifa Innovation Center' initiative, which was developed in partnership with Khalifa University, Sandooq Al Watan, Tawazun, and Mubadala, to offer a range of innovative solutions to support emerging technology entrepreneurs and help them develop their business through training programs, business incubators and investment accelerators.

The exhibition also highlighted the important innovations and projects of the ‘Emirati Innovator’ program, which was launched in collaboration with the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) and Sandooq Al Watan to support entrepreneurial students and emerging entrepreneurs in their move to establish their own projects in a sustainable and highly competitive manner. It also reviewed the projects of ‘Ibtikari’ program, which is designed in collaboration between Khalifa Fund and startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). The program serves to become an integrated business incubator for UAE technology and smart intelligence start-ups to develop their innovative projects by providing the right environment and the necessary services of training, mentoring, communication and investment.

The third edition of the competition represents a collaboration between KFED and its local and strategic partners, including Dubai SME; Sandooq Al Watan; the Khalifa Innovation Center; the Abu Dhabi Global Market; the Higher Colleges of Technology; StartAD; the Takamul Programme; the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises and Projects; Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa); Sia Partners; the Global Innovation Institute; and Krypto Labs.

Khalifa Fund launched Pitch@Palace UAE in November 2016 in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The UAE version of the competition is recognized as the first to use the Pitch@Palace model in the Middle East, which aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and providing them with the best opportunities to connect with various businessmen, experts and CEOs around the world.

-Ends-

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