The IDEAthon

The SciTech IDEAthon is an idea pitch competition for teams in each of the main topics: Energy, Infrastructure, and Innovation. The hackathon-style IDEAthon is a unique SciTech experience that will run in parallel to the main conference.

Participants will be split in teams of 5-6, and each team will be assigned a mentor. On the first two days, teams will work with their mentors to develop their pitch for some business idea to solve a problem within the topic. By the morning of the third day, each team will submit their pitch, and the mentors in each topic will select the top teams to proceed to the final round.

In the final round, IDEAtors pitch their solutions to a panel of judges and the entire audience. Winners will walk home with cash prizes.

There are 3 cash prizes for $3,000 each, and $1000 in smaller prizes!

 
 
 

Schedule

Friday, April 19th - E62-233

18:00-19:00 // IDEAtor Registration

19:00-19:30 // Introduction to the IDEAthon

19:30-20:30 // Workshop I: Advanced Technologies: Understanding AI and Blockchain

20:30-21:30 // Workshop II: The Art of Storytelling

21:30-23:00 // Team formation & work time(hacker snacks provided!)

Saturday, April 20th

19:30-20:30 // Workshop III: Developing A Pitch & Networking Dinner

20:30-23:00 // Team work session

Sunday, April 21st

8:00 // Pitches Due

9:00 // Finalists announced

10:30-13:30 // Final presentation prep time

15:00-16:00 // IDEAthon pitch competition

17:30-18:00// IDEAthon Awards


Tracks


Rules

Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about competing in the IDEAthon:

  1. Anyone (student or professional) can participate, as long as you purchase an IDEAtor ticket.

  2. You can come with your own team (with an idea you’re already working on), or meet people here and start something new.

  3. Teams must be composed of 3-5 people.

  4. All ideas are welcome, but must address, in some shape or form, (1) one of the challenges below or (2) a pressing issue in one of the tracks above.

  5. Ideas must be original, and creative!

  6. There will be 3 winners (3000 USD each), 1 for each track. There will also be 1 honorable mention (1000 USD). Judging will be based on the rubric below.

  7. In order to be eligible, you MUST attend the Friday (6:00PM to 9:30PM) and Saturday (7:30PM to 8:30PM) Workshops. Work Sessions are not required, but strongly recommended.

  8. By 9:00AM Sunday, teams must submit a 4 minute video of their pitch to the mentors. The mentors will then select the teams presenting in front of the judges.

  9. The final pitch competition will take place in 32-123 in the Stata Center from 3:00PM-4:30PM. Teams will present a 4 minute pitch. Judges will then have 5 minutes for feedback and questions.

  10. Winning teams will be reimbursed once the conference is over.


Rubric

IMPACT

  • Does the team articulate a clear and focused need with specific stakeholders?

  • How likely is the solution to improve outcomes for the problem identified?

  • Does the team demonstrate a clear understanding of the complexities involved?

  • Is the solution designed to resolve the problems identified?

INNOVATION

  • Does the team provide a convincing rationale for why their solution may work?

  • Does the solution address one of the challenges above, or another pressing and important issue within the three tracks?

  • Is the team knowledgeable about similar efforts by others in the past, and does the solution address challenges others have found?

  • Did the team consider the user experience, user interface, or service design aspects of the solution?

  • How likely is the solution to be used?

BUSINESS MODEL

  • Has the team developed a sustainable business model?

  • Has the team considered the interests of potential stakeholders, and have they done any market research to prove there is interest?

  • Did the team demonstrate a plan to work in the field?

PRESENTATION

  • How effective was the presentation overall? Was their argument clear? Did they tell a relevant and compelling story?

  • Is the problem they are solving convincingly articulated, presented or visualized? What about the solution?

  • How relevant is the presentation to the conference theme?

  • Was the team able to identify potential challenges to their solution?

  • Were the presenters prepared to answers questions, and respond to feedback?


Challenges

  1. How can we integrate developments in vehicle technology with other solutions/policies to manage traffic more efficiently and reduce pollution in our cities?

  2. How can we deal with the lack of capacity in governmental/municipal agencies to collect and manage Big Data?

  3. What are some ways old city centers across MENA be retrofitted to accommodate new lifestyles, and new technologies (like self-driving cars)?

  4. Many cities across MENA have been ravaged by war. How can we use innovations in planning and technology to rebuild the infrastructure and its communities?

  5. The MENA region has many potential avenues for renewable and sustainable energy. How will cities across the region be powered sustainably? What infrastructure or systems need to be adopted within, and between cities?

  6. How can cities in MENA be designed to be carbon-neutral? What combination of new buildings, habits, or technologies will achieve this goal?


Judges

Mostafa Kandil is Co-founder and CEO of Swvl, one of the fastest growing ridesharing companies in the world. Swvl is building a private mass transport system for the middle class in emerging markets starting with Egypt. Previously, Mostafa was a Market Launcher at Careem working with the team to launch cities in Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. Mostafa was recently listed as Forbes 30 under 30.

Mostafa Kandil is Co-founder and CEO of Swvl, one of the fastest growing ridesharing companies in the world. Swvl is building a private mass transport system for the middle class in emerging markets starting with Egypt. Previously, Mostafa was a Market Launcher at Careem working with the team to launch cities in Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. Mostafa was recently listed as Forbes 30 under 30.

Mostafa Kandil

Co-founder and CEO at Swvl

Rama applies 25 years of technical and communications experience to her passion: social development for Arab youth. She runs Chakaki Consulting in addition to the VIP.fund, a venture philanthropy fund investing in youth programs and technology startups. Rama also oversees all operations for edSeed, her philanthropic crowdfunding platform for refugee students seeking funding and mentorship for higher education.   Currently, Rama serves on the board of the Syrian International Business Association. She’s a founding member of Arab Women in Computing and the first regional Women Angel investment Network (WAIN) and also served on the board of TechWadi, PCRF, PACES, The Impact HUB – UAE , Challenge to Change and Nakhweh.  Previously, Rama was a principal with Turn8, a Tech Venture Capital Fund. She also ran Baraka Ventures, investing in a portfolio of social impact and tech startups. Among the portfolio were BarakaBits, the first Middle East social publisher and news media focused on a positive narrative from the Middle East and B Street Advisors, a communications agency managing PR for causes in the Middle East.  Some notable projects include working for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid as a Social Impact Strategy Advisor. Rama also acted as a Communications Advisor to the World Bank Group, UAE Ministry of Labor and Kuwait Ministry of Finance. Rama was also a Content Strategy Advisor for Etisalat UAE after serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Eastnets, a leading global provider of compliance and payments solutions for the Financial Services industry for two years.   In 2000 Rama co-founded a startup that received $60 Million in funding to buildout data-centers in Washington, D.C. Prior to that Rama served as a director of product development at Cable and Wireless serving fortune 100 clients.  In addition to a certificate in Designing for Social Systems from Stanford University, Rama holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Management from George Washington University.

Rama applies 25 years of technical and communications experience to her passion: social development for Arab youth. She runs Chakaki Consulting in addition to the VIP.fund, a venture philanthropy fund investing in youth programs and technology startups. Rama also oversees all operations for edSeed, her philanthropic crowdfunding platform for refugee students seeking funding and mentorship for higher education.

Currently, Rama serves on the board of the Syrian International Business Association. She’s a founding member of Arab Women in Computing and the first regional Women Angel investment Network (WAIN) and also served on the board of TechWadi, PCRF, PACES, The Impact HUB – UAE , Challenge to Change and Nakhweh.

Previously, Rama was a principal with Turn8, a Tech Venture Capital Fund. She also ran Baraka Ventures, investing in a portfolio of social impact and tech startups. Among the portfolio were BarakaBits, the first Middle East social publisher and news media focused on a positive narrative from the Middle East and B Street Advisors, a communications agency managing PR for causes in the Middle East.

Some notable projects include working for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid as a Social Impact Strategy Advisor. Rama also acted as a Communications Advisor to the World Bank Group, UAE Ministry of Labor and Kuwait Ministry of Finance. Rama was also a Content Strategy Advisor for Etisalat UAE after serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Eastnets, a leading global provider of compliance and payments solutions for the Financial Services industry for two years.

In 2000 Rama co-founded a startup that received $60 Million in funding to buildout data-centers in Washington, D.C. Prior to that Rama served as a director of product development at Cable and Wireless serving fortune 100 clients.

In addition to a certificate in Designing for Social Systems from Stanford University, Rama holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Management from George Washington University.

Rama Chakaki

VIP.fund Co-founder

Majd Abbar is the Director of Business Development and Commercialization at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and is focused on bringing the advanced research to the market. Previously at QCRI, he filled the role of Director of Arabic Content Initiatives to enrich the current state of the Arabic online content and the experience of Arabic internet users everywhere.  Prior to that, he spent 20 years at Microsoft Corporation where he established the Arabic Windows team and was responsible for the release of multiple international versions of Microsoft Windows as well as the strategic language planning road-map for the Microsoft Desktop programs and outsourcing model.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and an MBA in Management Information Systems and Advanced Project Management from Stanford University.

Majd Abbar is the Director of Business Development and Commercialization at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and is focused on bringing the advanced research to the market. Previously at QCRI, he filled the role of Director of Arabic Content Initiatives to enrich the current state of the Arabic online content and the experience of Arabic internet users everywhere.

Prior to that, he spent 20 years at Microsoft Corporation where he established the Arabic Windows team and was responsible for the release of multiple international versions of Microsoft Windows as well as the strategic language planning road-map for the Microsoft Desktop programs and outsourcing model.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and an MBA in Management Information Systems and Advanced Project Management from Stanford University.

Majd Abbar

Director of Business Development and Commercialization at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) 


Mentors

Stay tuned for the list of mentors who will be joining us this year. If you have experience with

  • startups

  • technology

  • innovation

Then join us as a mentor, and help teams prepare and pitch their ideas!

Contact us if you are interested in mentoring.


FAQs

Do I have to be from the region?

No, you don’t have to be from the region and you don’t need to know much about it. Just bring your creativity and IDEAte!

Can I come in with a team/without a team?

You can either come in with a team or form one at our several team formation workshops. Our mentors will make sure you find people to work with!

Am I bound by the suggested challenge questions?

The IDEAthon challenge questions are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. That is, you can either work with the ones we suggested or come up with your own! The only requirement is that it has to fit within our theme of impact within cities of MENA.

If we win the competition, how will we get paid?

Congrats on winning! After the conference, we will ask you for some paperwork, and the payment will be processed through MIT. There are processes for US and non-US citizens that you will have to complete before receiving your cash prize.