Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Thomson Reuters to Host Second ‘Innovation 4 Impact’ Pitch Competition

Tuesday 26 July 2016
Nadim Najjar

Dubai - MENA Herald: The second edition of the Innovation 4 Impact Competition will take centre-stage at the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2016 (GIES 2016) to be held under the theme ‘Inspiring Change’, at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, from October 11-12. Islamic digital economy entrepreneurs from around the world will compete for a chance to win cash, gain global publicity, and attractive in-kind prizes.
Organised by the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), the integrated free zone technology park and Thomson Reuters, the Innovation 4 Impact Competition is designed to support emerging Islamic digital economy entrepreneurs from around the world in showcasing their businesses, as well as connecting with investors and customers, gaining access to expert mentoring, and competing to win cash prizes and in-kind benefits. During GIES 2016, the emerging entrepreneurs from the Islamic economy space will engage in pitch sessions with leading entrepreneurs and investors from UAE and from across the region.
The winner of the competition will also receive free office space for one year at the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre, DSOA’s wholly owned technology incubation center and the largest of its kind in the region.
The upcoming edition of GIES will explore the social impact of diverse sectors within the Islamic economy. Digital economy represents a key driver of change and social development given its capacity to transcend geographical boundaries and drive economic activities with ethical dimensions in line with the principles of Islamic economy.
Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Vice Chairman and CEO of DSOA, said: “Innovation 4 Impact signifies our commitment towards supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs in the field of Islamic digital and Arabic content. The annual event strengthens DSOA’s proposition in supporting Dubai's vision to emerge as the Capital of Islamic Economy. Innovation 4 Impact aims to empower Islamic digital economy entrepreneurs globally and to serve as a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their business ventures to a distinguished panel of experts, prospective investors, as well as prominent professionals in the Islamic economy domain.”
Supported by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), Innovation 4 Impact provides value-added services for the selected entrepreneur including exclusive mentoring, access to leading investors in the region, as well as support to fine-tune their ideas. Innovation 4 Impact effectively nurtures start-ups and enables them to contribute to the further development of Islamic digital economy.
In 2015, Innovation 4 Impact received 170 applicants from over 35 countries. Five entrepreneurs received the opportunity to attend and present their ideas at GIES 2015, while also gaining global media coverage, and benefiting from their participation in the sessions that helped them continue to grow and scale-up even after the Summit.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: “It is our privilege to support this competition for the second consecutive year. The digital infrastructure is an important pillar of positioning Dubai as the Capital of Islamic Economy and this competition stands as a platform for digital economy entrepreneurs. We believe that digital economy is an important driver of innovation, competitiveness, and growth. The Innovation 4 Impact competition is aligned with our aim of creating a generation of leading experts who are capable of accelerating the growth of digital Islamic economy.”

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters, Middle East and North Africa, reiterated the shared commitment among Thomson Reuters, DSOA and DIEDC to develop the Islamic digital entrepreneurial ecosystem in the MENA region. He said: “With the rapid development in the digital economy sector, new digital trends such as mobile computing, cloud computing, hyper-converged platforms and big data have emerged to reshape the business landscape. The development of digital Islamic economy is highly dependent on leveraging these growing trends to create successful businesses with significant economic and social impact.”

Innovation 4 Impact Qualifications:
Managed and hosted in collaboration with the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, the Innovation 4 Impact Competition is open to any startup, business venture, and digital entrepreneurs of all faiths. Only business ventures which have an economic and social impact on the Islamic digital economy will be considered. The businesses should belong to one of the following sectors:
Mobile computing
Cloud computing
Big data
Hyper-converged platforms
New media and social media

Application submissions will close on August 15, 2016 and selected applicants will be notified by the second week of September 2016. Selected applicants will also receive coaching and feedback from investors and experts in the entrepreneurial community throughout the process. They will pitch their businesses to a renowned panel of judges and a professional audience on the first day GIES on October 11 and the winner will be announced on the closing day of the Summit on October 12.

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