Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are annual competitions organized by geography and theme. These challenges are an open call to entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, and engineers with the most innovative ideas for moonshot innovations and startups that can positively impact a billion people in 10 years.
The purpose of the SingularityU MENA GIC is to foster innovations and startups that positively impact the lives of people living in the Middle East and North Africa with an ability to scale and impact a billion people worldwide in 10 years.
The challenge is open to residents and citizens in the MENA region: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Syria, Tunisia, Palestine, Yemen, Sudan, KSA, UAE, Kuwait, Iraq.
What innovation would you develop to solve a global grand challenge within by using exponential technology within the Health, Education, Energy, Agriculture, Transportation, or Fintech industries?
Why host a GIC in the MENA region?
Egypt and the whole MENA region are a natural hub for tech-savvy experts: engineers, programmers, designers, and business professionals. As Haider Ghaleb, our SU Cairo Chapter Ambassador, says: “If Egypt joins the AI era it will leapfrog massively, which is why we are hosting this GIC to help foster exponential technology in our area.” The SingularityU MENA Global Impact Challenge is creating a platform through which local, bright minds can turn their ideas into actions, and eventually products and tools, that will tackle the world’s most urgent problems.
The high unemployment rate, educational gap, gender inequality in the workplace, and issues around water supply and common resource distribution are just some of the main problems that affect and slow down the development of MENA and the world.
The SingularityU MENA GIC urges leaders in the region to contribute to solutions around issues prevalent in their country that can be scaled globally. Startups for this GIC must be working with exponential technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Digital Fabrication, Robotics and Nano-Technology with the aim of finding solutions for our top regional challenges in the industries of Health, Education, Energy, Agriculture, Transportation, and Fintech.
This year’s SingularityU MENA GIC is focusing on Health, Energy, Education, Agriculture, and Transportation (HEEAT) and Fintech. Here are some key statistics and reasons why these are the most demanding industries to tackle for development in the MENA region:
- Health: MENA region countries spend on average only 8% of their budgets on healthcare.
- Energy: Most countries in the MENA region are still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Innovation in clean energy is urgently needed, and the MENA region has huge potential for renewable energy considering its abundant availability of solar and wind resources.
- Education: Currently the MENA region has almost 22 million children out of school, causing unequal access to quality education.
- Agriculture: Agriculture is a huge challenge in the MENA region as both land and water are scarce leading to the region’s dependency on international markets for key staple food products.
- Transportation: Low performing transport infrastructure and services in the MENA region have negatively affected trade flows for import/export businesses through higher costs, delays, and uncertainty.
- Fintech: Even though Egypt has the highest population number of MENA (95 million people), only 14% out of 52% of the total number of adults in the country have a bank account.
Do you have a moonshot idea that tackles one of the areas mentioned above? Can you impact the lives of millions?
Submit your moonshot idea to our SingularityU MENA GIC!
The Shortlisting Process
The top 20 shortlisted finalists of this Global Impact Challenge will be invited to attend a bootcamp held in El Gouna, Egypt from July 19-24, 2019, before the final pitch event.
The Bootcamp Objective
The bootcamp will equip the finalists with the latest knowledge within exponential technologies, and prepare them for the final pitch event where they will pitch in front of a panel of judges from Singularity University (SU). The finalists will work hand-in-hand with mentors from SU, former GSP participants, and other subject experts.
The winner of this GIC will be selected at the final pitch event and secure a full scholarship to attend SU’s Global Startup Program (GSP).
The GSP helps future-focused entrepreneurs transform radical ideas into tangible impact on a global scale. It’s a structured, immersive program offering startup-focused educational resources and world-class mentorship from SU’s faculty, staff, and industry experts—in a safe, nurturing environment. The program aims to scale startups into global businesses.
We want to inspire you to solve the world’s biggest challenges and impact the lives of a billion people.