Every year, hundreds of startups from all over the globe take part in a global competition called The Creative Business Cup. The CBC empowers entrepreneurs in the creative industries, connects them to investors and global markets and strengthens their innovative capabilities to the benefit of industry and society. It is a featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), being one of the top five events in the world. The CBC is actively promoted in more than 150 countries around the globe.
There are two main stages of this annual competition. The first is the National Competition in which startups from each respective country compete to be the national finalist who will then compete with national finalists from all over the globe at the Global Finals.
The Global Finals each year include:
• Over 500 participants
• Representation from more than 60 countries
• More than 100 pitches from great startups around the world
• Prizes worth over 150,000 USD
• 480 articles all over the world which reach more than 25 million readers
Innovative Yemen, CBC’s first partner in Yemen, launched the first national competition on the 4th of September. Startups were invited to fill out and submit their business concepts through the YouNoodle platform. The deadline for the application process was 30th of September. The judging round was launched on the 1st of October and ended on the 3rd of October. The national winner was announced on 4th of October.
The applications came in from many different sectors, some from the service sector and others from education. From those that applied, 10 startups met the full requirements.
A jury of three highly qualified judges and experts of industry were invited to participate in this critical stage. Our first judge was Bill Kenny, CEO and Founder of Test My Pitch, an online platform where entrepreneurs and business professionals draft, share, and receive feedback on their idea pitches and self-introductions. Our second judge was Mohammed Alafranji, Managing Partner at Aqar Circle, an online property finder – based in Amman, Jordan – providing online listings of real estate properties. And our third judge was Yousef Hamidaddin, ex-CEO of Oasis 500, a leading early stage and seed investment company, the first of its kind in Jordan and the MENA region.
The judging was based on 5 criteria; Market Potential, Business Concept, Aesthetics, Team & Customers and Funding & Revenue. More weight was given to the Market Potential and Business Concept criteria. The judging round was conducted through YouNoodle.
Our three finalists were Kids Space, Ebda’a Company and AnaMehani.
The winner of this year’s CBC national competition was Kids Space but due to unforeseen circumstances, Maria Bukeir, the founder, had to drop out so the runner’s up, Ebda’a was supposed to go. Ebda’a is a company that is specialized in generating power using wind energy. The company was established in 2013 in Sana'a Yemen with management team consisting of 10 girls, but it was closed after the last war in 2014. Since 2011 people have suffered power outage and they tend to use alternative sources of power such as electrical generators which is, in addition to its high price, not safe and causes pollution. As a result, they thought of providing the community with renewable and non-polluting source which is wind energy and they came up with a power generating system called Electro-Ebda'a system. This system can be defined as a small turbine modified to generate power between 800-1000W, so it can be used for domestic usage.
“Working throughout this process only confirmed what I had already been sure of; that Yemeni entrepreneurs are creators, risk takers and have lots of passion. They are truly at a high standard of professionalism and are able to compete regionally and globally.
Innovative Yemen is pleased to be CBC’s national partner and will continue to work together for future projects,” Fadi Alwadan, the Ecosystem Lead at Innovative Yemen, who was responsible for overseeing the entire process from signing the partnership with CBC till announcement of the winner. Fadi worked tirelessly for two whole months to work on an initiative that ideally takes a year.
“The purpose of participation in such competitive platforms is to build awareness on the innovative side in Yemen, and, also, to become a catalyst for wider and greater participation across Yemen. We started late this year yet are proud to see Maria represent Yemen, and look forward to greater participation as we start early next year preparing to win in 2018”, Yousef Hamidaddin, Chairman of Innovative Yemen.
Ebda’a was going to represent Yemen this year and compete with different creative startups from over 150 countries. However, both the startup, Ebda’a and the Innovative Yemen team member, Fadi, were not able to go to Denmark this year. Fadi could not leave Yemen because of the total blockade and the founders of Ebda’a would not have been able to leave nor make it in time to get the lengthy and expensive consular situation sorted out.
Innovative Yemen secured the funding to pay for all the travel, accommodation and participation expenses for this year’s national winner to attend the Global Finals in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hopefully next year’s winner will be able to attend and compete.