Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition is launched…it could be better

18 Apr, 2008

Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship (QRCE) based on Amman, Jordan, which aims at helping tech entrepreneurs start their ventures, has officially announced the third year of the Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition (QRNEC) with $70,000 of cash prizes in addition to in-kind services provided by the Centre for the winners to support their companies.

There are 3 new things in this year program, first: applicants can be non students. In the last 2 years it was only open to students. Second: Google will give 10,000 US$ to the best online business plan, Third: King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau will be offering a special cash award of $10.000 for the best business plan for a defense and security project.

The 2 categories open to the competition are: Entrepreneurs from Academia – students- and Mature Entrepreneurs – non students-

In each category the first winner will get JD 15000, plus in-kind rewards, the second winner: JD 10000, plus in-kind rewards. The third winner: Only In-kind rewards.

Interested teams can submit an executive summery for their startup businesses until June 19th 2008. Exective summaries have to briefly describe the technology, the application or service, the team, the target market segment and financial feasibility.

By July 1st 2008 QRCE committee will chose the best 20 applications, which they will go into the second face: Guidance & Education and a mentor will be assigned to each team to help them develop a business plan.

World class mentors are expected to be present this year, Like Osama Faiyad Data Chief Officer of yahoo Inc. who was also a mentor last year. After this stage teams should submit their Business Plans no later than September 28th 2008, and the Pitching Presentation Delivery will go through 25-28 October 2008, the winner and the Award Giving Ceremony will be on October 30th 2008.

According to the terms of the competition: Applicants should be Jordanians or living in Jordan. QRCE says this is not an international competition and it is only open to Jordanians, but this put applicants in less flexible situation because they might have to partner with foreign individuals who have skills that are not present in Jordan, or because they are the one they know. so if you are a Jordanian living abroad and you have a non Jordanian partner, do not waste you time and submit an application to the competition.

QRNEC is similar to other programmers / Funds/ Incubators/ Accelerators in the west such as Y Combinator (Cambridge, MA & Mountain View, CA, USA)
and LaunchBox Digital (Washington,DC, USA.)

Unlike QRNEC these programmers offer more, entrepreneurs submit an application that describes the problem, the solution, competition, team, etc- not a business plan but the essential data to know if the idea and the team is viable. if accepted the accelerator will provide the founders with initial funding of around 30,000US $ up to 50, 000 $US, location for around 3-4 month plus mentoring to finish the business plan.

For example Lunchbox digital during the program time, expects the teams to finish the business plan and it would be great for them to have an alpha or beta version ready, or even a commercial launch. Lunchbox digital will also provide qualified applicants with pitches with leading venture capitalist (VCs) and the media in the East and the West Coast of USA. They will provide all that for an exchange of 5% of the company.

Tech entrepreneurs normally do not have the enough funding to kick start their business, getting a location for few month and initial funding that will help them pay for their business and personal expenses will enable them to build a prototype, or alpha or beta version of their products/ services, a thing that is hard to do in part time bases. QRCE should look into these models and try to provide similar models next year, 15,000 and 10,000 for 2 winners is not enough to initiate a bigger pull of tech startups in Jordan. While the type of the incubation service QRCE will give is not sufficient, because entrepreneurs need some sort of funding to pay their expenses, not just an office location, plus in time sensitive industry such as IT, it is better to work the business plan while developing the products or services.

Any way if have a big and unique idea and you are from Jordan or currently lives in Jordan go ahead and submit your application to QRNEC here, it is the only program for IT startups available in Jordan, not what we aspire to, but something is better than nothing.

We appreciate QRCE efforts and hope they will take my notes in consideration fro next year.

I also hope Jordan or Dubai or any other Arab country will kick start a program similar to lunchbox digital on a regional bases.

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