Dubai – MENA Herald: Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), the integrated free zone technology park, in collaboration with the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), and Thomson Reuters have announced the five finalists of the Innovation 4 Impact Competition 2016 – set to make up an integral component of the upcoming Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES 2016).

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the GIES 2016 will be hosted on 11th and 12th October at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.

The Innovation 4 Impact finalists were selected from more than 250 digital Islamic economy entrepreneurs from over 40 countries who submitted applications for the Competition. These applicants demonstrate that digital Islamic economy innovation exists all around the world.

Applications were reviewed by a committee of experts comprised of business and industry leaders in the Islamic economy space. The five entrepreneurs in the field of digital Islamic technology and Arabic content, who successfully passed the two initial assessment rounds to make it to the finals, will present their business ventures towards supporting digital Islamic economy and enhancing Arabic content during GIES 2016.

The five finalists are:
Alem Health, represented by Aschkan Abdul Malek from Singapore

Divine Connect, represented by Mohamed Pazhoor from USA

iGrow, represented by Muhaimin Iqbal from Indonesia

Intuition Intelligence Inc., represented Arif Ansari from USA

Kwn Education, represented by Hala AlTurki from UAE

The judging panel for this year consists of
Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Islamic Bank;
Ahmad Al Shugairi, Media Personality;
Badr Buhannad, Vice President of Corporate Strategy and ICT at Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority; and
The finalists include entrepreneurs who are employing technology to provide solutions to some of the world’s most difficult problems, innovators who are driving solutions to meet the ever-increasing Muslim lifestyle needs and others who are creating new markets and expanding into new industries.

The Innovation 4 Impact Competition finalists demonstrate the remarkable potential to create business ventures that convey positive opportunities and solutions to consumers, communities, and countries. Ideas for the pitch presentation will be judged on different criteria including: innovation, economic and social impact as well as the scalability across markets and regions. One lucky winner will receive a cash prize of US$20,000 and a set of incubational services collectively valued at over US$10,000 – including the opportunity to set up office at the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre (DTEC), DSOA’s wholly owned technology incubation centre and the largest of its kind in the region.

More than 2,500 delegates comprising of business leaders, corporate executives and investors have registered to attend GIES, representing some of the best examples of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation across different industries and markets. GIES will provide a unique opportunity for these industry players to connect with entrepreneurs and discover new market opportunities.

Commenting on the list of finalists, Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Vice Chairman and CEO of DSOA, said: “We are proud to nurture the passion of these entrepreneurs who will contribute to the prosperity of the global Islamic digital economy space. We have witnessed a very high calibre of submissions this year. The five entrepreneurs that have secured their places in the final round of the Innovation 4 Impact competition will showcase their digital solutions to investors and international influencers attending GIES 2016.”
He added: “Our incubational ecosystem represented by DTEC will offer the winning entrepreneur a fertile ground for scalability and growth of his / her start-up as well as all necessary development support.”
Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: “Our aim in conducting this technology-focused event annually is to engage the youth in the development of the Islamic economy. This is the generation that will spread the culture and ethics of this unique system far and wide, and facilitate its role in achieving comprehensive development. Year after year, we have witnessed an increasing number of young people from around the world participating in the Innovation 4 Impact Competition. These international contestants prove to us that everyone can benefit from modern technology and use it to develop innovative solutions that contribute to the objectives of Islamic economy. In doing so, such technological innovations can translate a long-lasting positive impact on the world’s nations.”
Nadim Najjar, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters, Middle East and North Africa, said: “One of the pivotal goals of the Innovation 4 Impact Competition is to increase the opportunities available to promising and thriving entrepreneurs within the Islamic digital economy through access to coaching and mentorship. This year’s finalists represent some of the most promising start-ups emerging in the Islamic digital economy space.”
Managed in collaboration with the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, the Innovation 4 Impact competition started accepting applications on July 13 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.