Khalifa Fund Awards the Winners at Abu Dhabi First Startup Weekend Event

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Press Release 

Dubai 28thMay 2012: The UAE version of Startup Weekend concluded its last day event in Abu Dhabi with the announcement of the first three winning teams on Saturday 26th May 2012. The event organisers Innovation Machine in collaboration with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development presented the awards.

The winning teams were HEALTH MILES, who came in at first place (20,000 dirhams), and it’s an application to motivate and reward Healthy Lifestyles. Second place was for MONGO (10,000 dirhams) an online shopping experience collecting unique designed items by undiscovered artisans. Third place (5,000 dirhams) was for SPEAKING PAPERS, Idea is to give voice to the global newspaper, listen to your favorite newspaper wherever and whenever you decide at your fingertips. The prizes were meant to help and support the teams in establishing their companies and forming a solid foundation for their future businesses.

Startup Weekend, with its 3rd edition that happened in Abu Dhabi, received a lot of interest from the local youth community in the UAE, with almost 400 registrations, where the participants shared their innovative ideas. Startup Weekend is designed to bring together business and community leaders with entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts to inspire, educate and empower.

Fifty-three pitches were presented on the first day of the competition, for technology startup ideas and projects. After, twenty seven teams formed themselves to work on the best ideas. On the third day, after the final pitch of ideas, the judges selected three winning teams.

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Chief Executive H.E. Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki, said:We are very proud to have been an important part in making this initiative happen in Abu Dhabi for the first time; it has truly unveiled the creative hidden side of the local youth”. He also added: “It’s with no doubt the Information technology sector is the most promising investment sector in the region, despite the high competition, and that the Khalifa Fund will provide all necessary support for the success on any technical project that complies with the requirements and conditions of the Khalifa Fund financing.

The projects submitted and discussed during the event reflected the advanced level acquired by the young entrepreneur generation and the participants in specific. He also stressed that the Fund will present all forms of support to projects compliant with the policies and funding directed to the citizens of the state only.

Startup Weekend Abu Dhabi was organised by Ms. Sara Falaknaz, Ms. Deem AlBassam and Mr. Kamal Hassan – who are the founders of Innovation Machine, a Dubai based organization that promotes local and regional entrepreneurship and innovative startups. On here feedback about Abu Dhabi event, Deem AlBassam, who is one of the partners, said “This is the first time for Startup Weekend in Abu Dhabi since we felt the need to support the young generation there especially the creative Emiratis with their innovative ideas” Sara Falaknaz, partner and Emarati entrepreneur also added, “We are trying to raise awareness and encourage young entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into a tangible startup, and we were so excited about the whole experience  in Abu Dhabi, where we met new ideas and very talented individuals.

Kamal Hassan concluded: “We were so happy with the outcome and the amount of interested youth who participated, and we are already helping to link some of the successful innovative ideas now with possible interested investors. We were so delighted as well with the support we received from Khalifa Fund and the effective role they played throughout the 3 days event.”

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