MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab to host final event of “Innovate for Refugees” competition In partnership with Zain and MBC Hope

October 02, 2016
  • In partnership with Zain and MBC Hope, to share cash prizes of $110,000.
  • 21 finalists shortlisted with 5 leading innovative solutions to the refugee crisis.

MIT Enterprise Forum (MIT EF) Pan Arab is set to host the final event of its "Innovate for Refugees" Competition under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The award ceremony will take place at the King Hussein Business Park Main Theatre in Amman, Jordan on Tuesday 4th of October to recognize the most innovative, tech-driven solutions tailored to the refugee crisis across the globe.

The competition, which is awarding US$110,000 in cash prizes, was launched in June 2016 in partnership with Zain Group, a leading mobile telecommunications innovator across the Middle East and Africa, and MBC Hope, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of MBC, and is supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF, Jusoor and Uber. There were also over 30 partners supporting the competition including TechFugees and the International Rescue Committee.

Over 1,600 applications were received from a wide range of countries and sectors, the majority of which hailed from Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. Basic needs, healthcare, and education sectors were well represented within the applications. Women submitted 32% of all applications, and 15% of total entries were submitted by refugees.

"We are honored and thrilled to have the final award ceremony" Congratulations to our finalists. We saw a very high level of engagement from the youth, the refugees themselves, the hosting population and people worldwide, all trying to find a technology solution to a problem that concerns us all, said Hala Fadel, Founder, and Chair of the MIT EF Pan Arab.

On his part, Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said, "We are inspired by the 1600 applications and extremely proud of the 21 finalists, and wish them the very best at the final event. The combination of innovation and enthusiasm for a cause like the plight of refugees is exactly what communities in the region require, and as a major digital lifestyle provider in the Middle East, Zain Group throws its full weight behind this initiative and what it represents".

"Innovate for Refugees" invited entrepreneurs and refugees from around the world to come up with tech-driven, innovative solutions to help address the global refugee crisis. In the time since the competition was launched, a review process by over 70 industry experts has taken place, leading to the shortlisting of 21 finalists that have been selected for the final stage of the competition.

The ideas and proposed projects that contribute to the improvement of the living standards of the refugees and facilitate matters of their daily lives in various fields where dealt projects multiple aspects of the ideas which focus on finding jobs for refugees, applications for smartphones, health, education, counseling and find curriculum and communications in addition to the projects help in the sewage process, lighting and communications inside the refugee camps.

The competition is awarding prizes totaling US$110,000, with four prizes of US$20,000 each and one prize of over US$30,000. The prizes will be awarded to the most innovative solutions that effectively tackle challenges faced by refugees. The winners will also receive mentorship and training by industry experts to help them through the execution of the projects.