BusinessDay

Startups to compete in $600,000 prize pitch competition in Saudi Arabia

Sequel to the announcement of its debut technology event coming up in February 2022 in Saudi Arabia, startups from around the world is being invited to win a share of a USD $600,000 prize fund at the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition as part of the LEAP technology mega-event and to pitch their businesses to powerhouse venture capitals (VCs) and leading international investors.

The competition aims to find the best in start-up innovation and ideas from around the world. Some of the judges include BBC’s The Dragons’ Den stars Steven Bartlett and James Caan alongside footballers-turned-celebrity investors Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the core of the technology sector, so it is fitting that the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition will recognize some of the best start-ups worldwide as part of LEAP. Saudi Arabia is developing its own booming start-up ecosystem, supported by the Saudi government and private investors, and we look forward to welcoming outstanding international start-ups to join us in Riyadh for LEAP,” Haitham Alohali, Vice Minister at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, said.

Entries are now open for the competition, which will challenge start-ups in a pitch contest to find some of the most exciting and impactful new businesses from around the world. Ninety start-ups will be invited to pitch their business ideas live on stage during LEAP on 1st and 2nd February.

The finalists will have five minutes to present their best pitches to a panel of international and local investors, and convince them that they have what it takes to be one of the top 10 businesses who will go into the Grand Final on 3rd February.

These 10 best entrepreneurs will then get another chance to showcase the merits of their businesses, scored on creativity, innovation, potential, functionality and impact on people and society. The winner will be presented with the LEAP Award for the strongest, most outstanding start-up across the whole competition, and will be awarded the grand prize of $200,000.

The finalists will also compete for three other awards, including The Shooting Star Award for best early-stage start-up, which will win $100,000, the Aviatrix Award for best female-led start-up, and the Technology for Humanity Award for the start-up that best embodies the spirit of LEAP “Technology for Humanity”. The winners of these awards will each receive a prize of $150,000.

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LEAP is a platform where African leaders are inspired, empowered and equipped by providing the skills and tools for personal, organizational and community transformation with the purpose of raising leaders and transforming Africa.

The debut technology event is set to become a global platform for the entire innovation ecosystem, connecting pioneers and disruptors with business and government leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and more to experience and learn about the technologies of the future.

Similarly, the competition which is taking place as a part of LEAP’s Investor Program, will connect local and international VC investors and funds through an exclusive line-up of matchmaking, networking and investment events that will take place during LEAP.

The investor program includes workshops, one-on-one meetings and after-hours functions, to connect VCs and funds from the Middle East region with new tech-focused investment opportunities, as well as supporting local start-ups to explore potential new sources of funding from outside the region.

Entries for the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition close on 18th January 2022.

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