DUBAI // An idea to stop her children constantly playing computer games has changed the life of Rana El Chemaitelly.
The Lebanese mechanical engineer dreamt up an entertainment centre that introduces children between the ages of 4 and 16 to pre-engineering courses such as robotics, physics, electricity, electronics and renewable energy.
The mother-of-three won first place and US$50,000 (Dh183,630) two years ago at the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition for her idea, Little Engineer.
This year's competition launches tonight on Yas Island for entrepreneurs in the Arab region who want to turn their business idea into a successful company.
Since winning, Ms El Chemaitelly has set up four centres in Lebanon. She plans to expand into the UAE, Kuwait and Armenia with an expected 13 centres to open by 2013.
"I want kids to be active. This will help them bridge the gap between schools and universities," she said.
Teams of three - including at least two Arabs - can apply at www.mitarabcompetition.com until January 12. Companies must be set up in an Arab country.
Thirty teams will be shortlisted on February 14, 12 will be chosen on May 8 and the final awards will take place in Beirut on June 21.