Etisalat awards ‘Hello Business Pitch’ competition winners

Top five winners walk away with AED180,000 in prizes, the initiative is aligned with UAE’s strategy of bolstering SMB segment
Etisalat awarded several SMB owners at its Hello Business Pitch event.
Etisalat awarded several SMB owners at its Hello Business Pitch event.

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Etisalat announced the top five winners of the recently-concluded ‘Hello Business Pitch’ competition designed to encourage home grown Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and start-ups as well as to promote the growth and innovation of businesses in the UAE.

Louise Karim, Managing Director of Mums@Work, a UAE-based organisation dedicated to helping talented women to return to the workforce, won first place for her pitch. Second place was awarded to Imad Hammad for his pitch for CarSwitch, the UAE's first market place for inspected and warrantied used cars that he co-founded with Ali Malik in 2016.

Abu Muadh from Smart Labour was awarded ‘Start up with the best social impact’, Sunil Kenth from RoxAI was given the ‘startup pioneering the future’ award, and Philipp Tachas from Skill Deer was given the award for ‘start up with a digital edge’.

The winners took home prizes worth up to AED 180,000 in the form of business devices, Etisalat services and National Bonds. The winners started their journey at the Hello Business Hub in One JLT which led them to the final pitch round held recently at the Open Innovation Center located at Etisalat Al Kifaf in Dubai.

“Our ‘Hello Business Pitch’ initiative is in line with Etisalat’s continuous efforts to support SMBs and start-ups in the UAE and position Etisalat as the preferred business partner of choice for SMBs. At Etisalat, we are driven by our service mantra for SMBs, which is ‘Your Business Grows with Us,” Esam Mahmoud, Senior Vice President, SMB, Etisalat, said. “We are pleased to witness such passion for innovation and entrepreneurship - the clarity, thoroughness and the quality of the content of your pitches as well as the viability, sustainability, economic and social impact of your businesses on your respective industries. Congratulations to a well-deserved win and we look forward to welcoming small businesses and start-ups in next year’s competition.”

The winners were chosen among 20 shortlisted candidates who were invited to pitch their business ideas in front of an expert panel of judges, namely Binod Shankar, Co-founder of Kaplan Genesis Institute; Mustafa Kheirba, Chief Operating Officer of Abu Dhabi Financial Group and Craig Moore, CEO of Beehive.

The Final Pitch event also included a training session on ‘Perfecting your pitch’ led by Edward Matti, Managing Partner, CCM Consultancy.

SMBs and start-ups were invited to submit their entries in April. To be eligible, their businesses should be commercially viable, tried and tested with a minimum of two years of experience, and impactful with the potential to influence their respective industry. Hundreds of entries were critiqued, after which 50 candidates were invited to give live pitches, ending with 20 finalists after a deliberation by panel of judges on 29thApril at Hello Business Hub, One JLT, in Dubai.

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