DUBAI, 31st August, 2020 (WAM) — The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the winners of 5th Dubai Smartpreneur Competition during a virtual event, which saw 10 shortlisted start-ups from the UAE and abroad pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges.
ProvenMed, a UAE-based medical devices innovation start-up, was named the first-place winner, Callix, a UAE-based start-up offering intelligent cloud-based call answering solutions, took second place, while PlasticFri, a social enterprise from Sweden with a mission to tackle plastic pollution by transforming renewable plant resources, claimed the third place.
During his keynote speech, Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said, “SMEs are the backbone of contemporary economies. Thanks to the directives of its wise leadership, the UAE is considered one of the leading countries in the region in the development of a legislative and institutional framework that supports entrepreneurship and SME incubators, believing in the importance of the sector as a major engine that drives diversification, innovation and competitiveness in terms of economic performance.”
The minister further noted that the UAE ranked fifth in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, GEM, in 2019, with the sector contributing 53 percent to the country’s GDP in 2018.
“The ministry continues its efforts to launch programmes and initiatives to support the SME sector, empower entrepreneurs and provide them with necessary training and support in a way that enhances their contribution to advancing the UAE’s economic growth, increasing its resilience and sustainability,” Dr. Al Falasi added.
Hisham Al Shirawi, 2nd Vice Chairman of Dubai Chamber, presented the winners with their prizes in the presence of government officials, business leaders, investors, and representatives from Dubai’s entrepreneurial community.
Al Shirawi noted that the competition saw a 23 percent increase in applications compared to the previous cycle, while 82 percent of business ideas were submitted by start-ups based in the UAE, which he said reflected the country’s strengthening reputation as a preferred hub for innovation-focused start-ups.
Before the awards ceremony, the top 10 participating start-ups – ProvenMed Global FZ-LLC, VYND, PlasticFri, Callix, uqudo, Caddie Engineering LLC, Lexyom, beXel, Cerebian and ONE MOTO – made their business pitches in the final round of the competition. The shortlisted start-ups will get the opportunity to exhibit at Expo 2020 Dubai, while the top three winning start-ups received AED150,000 in combined cash prizes.
More than 1,900 start-ups from around the world have applied over the last five cycles of the competition. The fifth cycle, held earlier this year, attracted 315 smart business ideas aligned with the Expo 2020 Dubai sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
Open to entrepreneurs in the UAE and abroad, the competition provides the opportunity to become part of Dubai Government’s strategy to elevate the city into a global platform for innovative start-ups. The initiative is also in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into one of the world’s smartest cities.