The Second Edition of Innovate for Refugees Attracts Wide Participation from Arab and European Countries with Twenty Teams Qualifying for the Semi-Finals


Enabling Refugees to express their ideas and transform them into innovative projects

Amman hosts the final event ceremony to announce the competition’s winners on January 28, 2018
A total of 1,809 applications were submitted from different Arab countries
The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan Arab Region announced that 20 teams from 12 countries qualified for the Innovate for Refugees semi-finals to compete during the final ceremony which will take place in the King Hussein Business Park Auditorium In the Jordanian capital Amman on January 28, 2018. The teams were divided as follows: 6 from Jordan, 4 from Lebanon and one from each of Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sweden, France, Greece, USA, Germany, Austria and Turkey.

The second edition of Innovate for Refugees witnessed wide participation, with 1809 applications from various Arab and international countries. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) accounted for 65% of applications, 25% were from Europe and the remaining 10% came from other parts of the world. Innovate for Refugees , in its second edition, succeeded in attracting more refugee participants, with their participation rate increasing to 25% compared to the 15% participation in the first edition. The participation of women has also notably increased, reaching 70%.

The qualifying teams are scheduled to undergo several training sessions on January 26-27, 2018 in Amman, before the final ceremony, which will be accompanied by an exhibition to showcase the semifinalist teams’ projects in the form of a live demo. Conferences and discussion sessions will also be held to discuss investment opportunities, funding and innovation for the benefit of refugees with the participation of a number of specialists and experts in entrepreneurship and the world of startups.

Commenting on the project, Hala Fadel, MITEF Pan Arab Chair, said “The size of participation in this year’s competition has been remarkable, especially by the refugees themselves, reaching 25%! We are working towards enabling refugees to express their ideas and helping them transform them into innovative solutions to the challenges they face in their camps. In this context, MITEF supported the React hub educational program that aims to attract refugees to enroll in computer training programs, which will be launched, for the first time this year, for two weeks from January 14-28, 2018. We have succeeded in attracting 513 refugees registered in this program and 25 have been selected. MITEF will work to provide job opportunities for participants in this program. We hope that these initiatives and activities will inspire young people to look forward to the future with optimism away from the difficult reality in which they live .”

Farah Shammas, Innovate for Refugees Director, pointed to the success story of Ahmad Al-Hidiq, one of the co-founders of HeyDoc. “Ahmad is a Palestinian refugee in Lebanonwho was pre-selected in the first edition of the Innovate for Refugees. HeyDoc has become an award winning global telemedicine platform that connects patients anywhere with Doctors all over the world for the purpose of non-urgent medical advisory. This platform provides refugees, the poor and the needy in refugee camps, developing countries and rural areas access to doctors and health professionals to obtain medical advice.”

About MITEF Pan Arab: Founded in 2005, the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region ( is one of the 28 worldwide chapters of the MIT Enterprise Forum Global, an avid promoter of entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. The MIT Enterprise Forum- Pan Arab has a proven record in promoting MIT-style entrepreneurship by organizing each year the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition targeting 21 countries of the Arab region and attracting over 12,000 entrepreneurs a year.

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