Sunday 4, October 2015

Dubai – MENA Herald: Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), and Thomson Reuters, today announced the finalists of the inaugural ‘Innovation 4 Impact’ competition as well as the names of the jury panel that will select the winning entrepreneur on October 6 at the conclusion of the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES 2015), at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.

Five entrepreneurs in the field of digital technology and Arabic content, who successfully passed the two initial assessment rounds to make it to the finals, will present their ideas towards supporting Islamic digital economy and enhancing Arabic content during GIES 2015.

Silicon Valley technology executive Zeeshan Naseh, the first finalist selected, will showcase his Dallas-based company Connectloud Inc, a cloud hosting and cloud services software provider. The remaining four start-ups to make the cut include London-based Envision Business Consulting Ltd, led by Bashir Khairy, which specializes in revenue assurance and revenue management solutions for telecommunication operators worldwide; Hajjnet FZE, founded in 2012 in Dubai by Ali Dabaja known for the Salam app that currently serves over 500,000 users; Manchester-based OfferMoments, launched by Mohammed Abdul Alim, a mobile app developer that targets shoppers interested in learning about the latest retail offers, and SkolaFund Pte Ltd, a web platform to crowdfund higher education costs for the less privileged, represented by Muhammad Syakir Bin Hashim from Singapore.

The jury panel for the final round includes Dr Adnan Chilwan, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Islamic Bank Group, Badr Buhannad, Senior Vice President Strategy & ICT and Project Leader of Digital Islamic Economy at Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Ihsan Jawad, Founder of Zawya/Honeybee Tech Ventures and well-known Arab television personality Muna Abu Sulayman, Partner of Directions Consultancy. Ideas presented are to be evaluated on criteria including innovation, economic and social impact, as well as scalability across markets and regions.

The winner will be announced on the concluding day of GIES 2015, and rewarded with an array of financial rewards and valuable support packages in addition to receiving support through DSOA’s recently opened Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (DTEC), the largest of its kind in the region. The winning entrepreneur will also gain significant exposure through a special showcase within one of the prime components of GIES 2015.

Commenting on the list of finalists, Badr Buhannad, Senior Vice President of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, said: “We are proud of all five entrepreneurs who have made it to the last round of the Innovation 4 Impact competition. Each of the projects offers a unique set of products that differentiates it from competitors in the industry. We look forward to announcing the winner tomorrow (on October 6) and welcoming the winning participant into DSO and our state-of-the-art incubational ecosystem represented by the DTEC.”

He added: “DTEC will provide the winner with an immensely motivational environment to grow his business to great heights. This will enable the chosen entrepreneur to play a contributory role in the growth of the digital Islamic economy sector in the MENA region.”

For his part, Nadim Najjar, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters, Middle East and North Africa, said: “We are honored to partner with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority in rolling-out this initiative to celebrate and nurture some of the brightest entrepreneurs and most promising start-ups in the Islamic digital economy space and Arabic content. Based on the findings of the Islamic Digital Economy Report, this field has proved a fertile ground for innovation and we hope to further support its growth and contribution to the global Islamic economy through this competition.”

Managed collaboratively with the American Muslim Consumer Consortium and supported by Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), the Innovation 4 Impact competition started accepting applications on June 29 from companies and entrepreneurs with potentially ground-breaking ideas or business ventures pertaining to e-commerce, mobile computing, cloud computing, big data, hyper-converged platforms, as well as new media and social media.

A wholly-owned entity of the government of Dubai, DSO operates as a free zone technology park for large enterprises, medium and small companies looking to set up their offices in Dubai.