Oasis500 and New Cities Foundation launch OMRAAN: US$30,000 global startup contest to develop world’s best tech solutions in Middle East

March 31, 2014
OMRAAN
  • An initiative launched by New Cities Foundation and Oasis500 aimed Joint at developing world’s best urban technology ideas in Middle Eastern cities
  • Successful startups to win USD $30,000 seed funding and 100-day acceleration program in Amman, Jordan

 

The New Cities Foundation and Oasis500 announced the launch of OMRAAN, a global startup competition rewarding the best urban technology ideas with US$30,000 worth of seed funding and a 100-day acceleration program in Amman.

Omraan, meaning “building” in Arabic, is a unique initiative aimed at identifying and rewarding aspiring entrepreneurs who are developing promising technologies that tackle urban challenges, WITH A PARTICULAR RELEVANCE TO URBAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.  Through a combination of seed funding and acceleration, Omraan’s mission is to nurture the most creative and forward-thinking technology startups from across the globe, and develop their ideas into concrete projects that solve challenges facing all cities.

In recognition of the creativity that Omraan will bring to the city of Amman and the wider MENA region, Aqel Biltaji, Mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has pledged his support to the initiative.

From today onwards, international technology startups are invited to apply for Omraan at www.omraan.me. In order to qualify, startups must demonstrate an urban focus, and fall within the technology sector, including mobile, web, cloud, e-commerce, gaming, entertainment, enterprise software, digital news, digital advertising, and social networks.

For qualifying startups, the USD $30,000 seed investment funding consists of a $12,000 cash investment along with $17,000 in in-kind services through Oasis500’s acceleration and incubation program. Acceleration in Amman will involve coaching and mentoring from the Oasis500 team, industry experts, and a group of 300 international mentors, many of whom work in Silicon Valley.

The 100-day acceleration and investment program will be followed by 6‐9 months of incubation either in Amman, or the following partner cities: Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, Manama, Cairo and Beirut.

John Rossant, Chairman of the New Cities Foundation, said: “The New Cities Foundation is proud to be launching Omraan in collaboration with Oasis500. This unique initiative is an important milestone in the Foundation’s history: over the past four years, we have developed a dynamic network of urban innovators, thinkers and decision-makers spanning the globe. We have also fostered collaboration and dialogue amongst urban actors in the MENA region, through events such as the New Cities Summit and Cityquest – KAEC Forum. We’re now excited to provide a powerful platform for incubating, promoting and scaling urban technologies in the Middle East from which cities around the world can also learn.”

Yousef Hamidaddin, CEO of Oasis500, stated: “Omraan has an ambitious goal to attract and develop the best and brightest tech start-ups from around the world to the Middle East. We are confident that our collaboration with the New Cities Foundation, Greater Amman Municipality and King Abdullah Fund for Development will lead us to achieve our goal and to make exciting new discoveries and create the smart cities of the future.”

H.E. Aqel Beltaji, of the Greater Amman Municipality, said: “We are very excited about the opportunity to join forces with Oasis 500 and contribute towards achieving a 21st Century vision for Amman as a model knowledge city in the MENA region. We support innovation that will lead to smart solutions for urban challenges facing Amman and other cities in the region and are proud to provide a real-world lab for innovators from around the globe.”

Dr. Omar Razzaz, Chair of the Board of Trustees, King Abdullah II Fund for Development, stated: “Cities of the region are in urgent need to address social, economic, and environmental challenges associated with urbanization. Omraan will be the lead with technology solutions, and the king Abdullah 11 fund for development is proud to be part of it.”

 

Applications will be assessed jointly by a jury of experts that include Oasis500 and the New Cities Foundation on a rolling basis.

Applicants will be asked to submit a brief statement explaining their idea and to submit a detailed presentation and to give a 10-minute pitch presentation to be considered for the award.

The panel of judges will be announced shortly.

For more information and to apply visit www.omraan.me

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