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Wed 11 Dec 2013 10:46 AM

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Startup Weekend hailed as huge success

Competition for young entrepreneurs generates new business ideas

Startup Weekend hailed as huge success

A 54-hour entrepreneurship and innovation lock-in has taken place at the annual Startup Weekend Dubai, generating new business ideas among the country’s youth population.

The event, hosted by the UAE chapter of Young Arab Leaders, aimed to inspire, educate and empower young people to become business people and future leaders.

Designed to provide a superior experiential education for entrepreneurs, the weekend’s events revolve around action and innovation, offering people the chance to pitch, test, and develop their ideas, culminating in a series of demonstrations in front of a panel of potential investors and mentors.

Executive director of YAL in the UAE, and lead organiser of Startup Weekend, Salma Kayali, said: “The Startup Weekend follows the same basic model everywhere. On the first day of the competition, participants get only 60-seconds to pitch their startup ideas.

“Following feedback, votes and discussions among their peers, a few teams form with the top ideas from the group. Then the 54-hour competition kicks-off with the teams creating business models, designing concepts and testing market validation.

“On the final day of the competition, five judges vote for the best concept that meets the market’s needs and feasibility.”

The first prize winner at the end of the event was Kidz Weekend, a web and mobile app for parents to reward their children on the weekends of accomplishing tasks during the week.

Second place went to Coco Events, which empowers conference delegates to efficiently find people who matter to them at a chosen event.

The third winner was Rent a Local – a platform to connect worldwide travelers with locals throughout the world, offering them an authentic travel experience – and the fourth winner was GaraJack, an application that helps motorists find the right garage according to their needs, with reviews by peers and fellow motorists.

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