- Three of the winning teams include refugees
- 20 semi-finalists from 12 countries from across the globe competed in the finals
- In its second edition, Innovate for Refugees granted a total of winning prizes worth $100,000
BEIRUT – AMMAN January 29, 2018: The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan Arab Region announced, on January 28, the winners of the second edition of Innovate for Refugees, a competition designed to attract the best tech-driven solutions addressing the challenges faced by refugees all over the world.
The winning teams, who received $20,000 each, were announced at the King Hussein Business Park in Amman during a ceremony that attracted more than 300 investors, business entrepreneurs, media representatives and public figures.
The winners are:
Paper Airplane (United States of America), provides free, online language and skills instruction to people affected by conflict. The goal is to help these individuals learn languages and marketable skills for their pursuit of higher education and employment.
Tech for food (Iraq, Lebanon), provides digital training sessions targeting vulnerable communities to help them become employable in the international digital economy.
More than One perspective (Austria), is an advanced training program that offers various workshops, training and mentoring to prepare highly qualified refugees to enter the labor market.
Hope in sand and pipes (Lebanon), provides a transitional shelter for refugees using locally available material with minimum maintenance requirements and environmental considerations in the design to minimize the effects of the heat in the summer and cold in winter.
Akyas (Jordan), is a personal single-use biodegradable toilet with a sanitizer kit. The bag is made of biodegradable plastics and designed to provide maximum hygiene.
The ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook https://web.facebook.com/MITEnterpriseForumPanArabRegion/
Prior to the final award ceremony, the 20 semi-finalists underwent a round of training sessions and presented their work to a jury that brought together a number of key investors and business people.
During the ceremony, Hala Fadel, Chair of the Board of MITEF Pan Arab said, “We are extremely delighted with the success of the second edition of Innovate for Refugees. This shows how far the youth can achieve with only a little push and support to reach their full potential through their entrepreneurial ideas, innovation, and talent. In this context, we have succeeded in attracting several refugees to take part in this competition, and we are happy that three of the winning teams include refugees.”
The final event ceremony included a panel discussion led by Emile Cubeisy, Managing Partner of Silicon Badia, highlighting the impact of investment and tech innovation on refugees and vulnerable populations. Another panel discussion themed “One Year into React Hub” led by Admir Masic, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor at MIT, and Rudayna Abdu, the Founder of Thaki, was held. Co-founded by the MIT Enterprise Forum, React Hub was created to bring MIT caliber education to refugees and other displaced populations. Students will then follow a one-year curriculum in computer and data sciences, with classes in innovation and leadership.
In its second edition, Innovate for Refugees received 1800 applications. 17 judges from around the world participated in the judging process to determine the finalists in three different rounds.