Times of Oman

Muscat: A university team from Oman has won a regional competition that encourages young people to develop sustainable businesses for the future.

Team Mayha from Oman did the country proud when they were one of two teams to be named winners at the 13th Youth Entrepreneurship Competition organised by Injaz Al Arab, with the other team being Forsa from Palestine. Organised in the presence of His Highness Asa'ad bin Tariq Al Said, the Deputy Prime Minister for Relations and International Affairs and the Personal Representative of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, this year’s competition saw over 80 students from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) take part.

Injaz Al Arab hosted over 400 people including senior government officials, ambassadors and esteemed public figures at the awards ceremony.

This year’s competition was the culmination of a tough contest between 19 teams from Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Algeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt Tunisia, Palestine, Qatar, Yemen and Palestine.Stealing the limelight were Mahya from Oman winning ‘The Soray Salti Company of the Year’ award for the university section of participants and Forsa from Palestine from among the high school section.

Al Fazza from Bahrain won product of the year for the university section and Small Brains from Morocco won the same from among the high school teams.

Hive from Lebanon won the Social Impact of the Year award among the university-level contestants, while Kuwaiti team Seuse were awarded the same among the high-school competitors. The Citi Client Focus Award was earned by Forsa Palestine and Balda Tayba from Yemen, while the FedEx Access Award went to Small Brains from Morocco, in addition to a number of other awards that were earned by the respective winners.

Akef Aqrabawi, CEO, Injaz Al Arab, said: “The Middle East is home to a pool of motivated entrepreneurial talent who are striving to be the leaders of tomorrow. Our annual competition provides a platform to aspirational young Arabs to instill essential business and leadership skills and celebrate innovation and creativity. I’m extremely proud of our students, volunteers, and partners who have brought to life yet another successful competition and look forward to our continued journey to create a generation of empowered, inspired individuals who contribute to the economic development of their countries.”

The 13th regional competition was organised in strategic partnership with Al Zubair Group, and with in-kind support from Ooredoo. The event is regionally supported by strategic partners including Citi Foundation, FedEx, Boeing, Mastercard, MBC, MetLife and Investcorp.

In addition to the three main awards, students also competed for the Citi Foundation Client Focus Award, FedEx Access Award, Boeing Business Challenge, MBC Al Amal Pitch of the Year, MetLife Innovation Award, Mastercard Excellence in Technology Award and Investcorp Value Creation Award.

The judging panel comprised representatives from Mastercard, ExxonMobil, Expertise France, H+K Strategies, Kijamii, Investcorp, MBC Group, MetLife, FedEx, Citi Foundation, Boeing, McKinsey and Ithmar Invest PSC.

The annual Young Arab Entrepreneurs Competition was introduced in 2007, and the Injaz Al Arab competition aims to nurture the entrepreneurial skills of the Arab youth and help create future job opportunities. The annual competition follows the completion of individual country rounds and closes six months of training in work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.