The three finalist teams will now take off to The Netherlands to present their startups at the SPARK Ignite Conference stage.
Syrian-led health-tech startup Spermly scores a win at the second edition of the Startup Roadshow Competition’s Final Demo Day on November 4th, taking place in the Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC), in Amman’s Business Park. The Gaziantep-based startup took home the first-place cash prize award of $15,000 for their Computer-Aided Semen Analysis (CASA) software for quality analysis.
Ranking next at the second place is Medicine Box, an Amman-based startup that creates a “Medicine Bank” for vulnerable people to access healthcare at half the price, winning $10,000 for their innovation. Lastly, Lebanese social entreprise Jellyfish took home the third-prize of $7,000 for their recycled plastic-based accessories. The three finalists will also get all-expense paid trip to Amsterdam, to pitch at SPARK’S Ignite Conference on November 27th.
In an unexpected turn of events, Therapist House, a Gaziantep-based edu-tech startup, wins the People’s Choice Awards through live voting during the event, bagging a cash prize of $2,000.
“Winning the Startup Roadshow makes me feel energized and encouraged to pursue my entrepreneurial ambitions. Hopefully, this will be the first step towards a successful journey for this startup. The next steps are utilising this award to reach out to early adopters, both at local and neighbouring markets, before seeking international investors to scale up with bio-tech machine learning applications,” says Abdulrahman Baki, founder of Spermly.
Organised by Jusoor and SPARK in partnership with Startups Without Borders, the Startup Roadshow is the world’s first competition for Syrian entrepreneurs in the Middle East. The competition took on the mission to scout and train startup teams in five key cities in the Middle East in search for the region’s top three Syrian-led startups and future business leaders.
“Seeing all the entrepreneurs from Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and all different communities in the bootcamp, their positivity and their energy and their commitment to make the world a better place. The Startup Roadshow demo day was not meant to be a single event, but a starting point for the work that must be done to empower Syrian entrepreneurs across the Middle East and the world,” says Grace Atkinson, Executive Director of Jusoor.
Established and first launched in 2018, this year’s competition extended beyond bootcamps through a partnership with Techstars to host a series of Startup Weekend Refugee Edition across the five cities. The competition also included a series of live digital mentorship sessions on a variety of topics, including Business Modelling, Digital Marketing, and Storytelling for Startups.
“We’re happy to wrap up a journey for a group of Syrian entrepreneurs from the region, who went through a series of training, capacity building, competitions, startup weekend and came up with their business models. The competition was very hard, to the point that they made it hard for us judges to decide. The winners really deserved it; the progress was visible. We can’t wait to receive them in Amsterdam at the Ignite Conference,” says Mohamed Skaik, SPARK’s Regional Business Development Manager for MENA.
Past winner of the Startup Roadshow 2018, Saleem Najjar of Sharqi Shop took on the stage for a fireside chat alongside Ali Hili Entrepreneurship Consultant at Zain Iraq, to narrate their journey and offer spot-on advice to entrepreneurs that flew all the way from Beirut, Istanbul, Gaziantep, and Erbil, to pitch on stage.
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