Monday February 26th, 2024
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Startups Without Borders & SPARK Launch MENA Edtech Competition

Targeting migrant and refugee entrepreneurs, the contest calls on those cultivating solutions in the educational sector for children and youth, generating jobs, and disrupting education.

Menna Shanab

Startups Without Borders, which helps refugee and migrant entrepreneurs to build businesses, has linked arms with SPARK, the nonprofit supporting young people in fragile states, to launch the EdTech Startup Competition.

The contest is organised with contributions from the Qatar Fund For Development, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD).

The contest is aimed at entrepreneurs cultivating solutions in the educational sector for children and youth, generating jobs, and disrupting the industry across the Middle East. To qualify for the program, the startups must show growth potential, be tech-enabled, exhibit scalability and have an educational component. It will cater to idea- and early-stage EdTech startups and is open to refugee, migrant, and local entrepreneurs from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.

“SPARK is excited to be partnering again with Startups Without Borders,” said Leontine Specker, Regional Programme Director for the Middle East and Turkey at SPARK.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic shift in education, with more remote and blended learning options now available. These can benefit the most vulnerable in society, such as refugees. We need more technology companies to fill the new gaps in how education is delivered, absorbed and shared,” she added.

Five finalists from the idea stage and five from the early stage will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas on the global level at SPARK’s virtual IGNITE 2021 conference—with up to $10,000 in prizes.

They will also be enrolled in a three-month mentorship program led by leading international exports from the corporate and startup realm across Europe and the Middle East. Finally, 50 semi-finalists will be matched with a high-caliber network of mentors from various fields, including marketing, business model canvas, financial planning, product-market fit, and pitching. 

Interested startups can apply via


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