x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Entrepreneurs wait to see who won chance to make a pitch at SME show

Hundreds across the region entered, and on Sunday the 10 winners will be named.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs from the region will be hoping to hear they are one of the lucky 10 who will be pitching their ideas to a panel of judges at an SME exhibition in the capital next month.

“We searched the Mena region for entrepreneurs and businesses needing investment,” said Craig Hartley, the marketing manager at Informa Exhibitions. “Over 200 entrepreneurs applied from as far as Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We whittled those proposals down to 50 looking at business plans and costing proposals.”

The finalists will be announced on Sunday, and they will get a chance to win a US$5,000 management training course from IIR Middle East and two business class flights from Etihad Airways.

The SME Congress and Expo will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from December 16 to 18.

The event was driven by the need to give entrepreneurs an open channel to investors as they search for funding.

The judges’ panel for the Pitch for Investment Competition will include entrepreneurs, investors and management gurus. They will be looking for creative and sustainable enterprises that enhance the community.

“For me the winning idea should be unique, sustainable and have room to grow,” said one competition judge Mona Tavassoli, who is also the founder and director of Mom Souq and Mompreneurs Middle East.

“This country can see a lot of creativity in the services industry, like online platforms. Venue costs here are super-expensive, which is why we do not see independent operators, only big brands in the malls. Online, however, there is less risk and one can try new ventures.”

ascott@thenational.ae