Asia’s Largest Business Model competition took place this March bringing together startups and business ideas from the GCC region- for the very first time: Eureka! GCC 2021.

Eureka! GCC is the Gulf region edition of Asia’s Largest Business Model Competition. Eureka!, founded by the Entrepreneurship Cell of India Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, is one of the world’s leading institutions powered by Gulf Islamic Investments. This 5-month long competition offers aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to design solid business models, gain mentorship from renowned Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors as well as avail excellent networking opportunities and educational workshops.

Welcome Dinner

In the first edition of Eureka! GCC, they received more than 150 registrations and over 100 business plan ideas in October 2021. After completing the detailed questionnaires submitted by these teams, Eureka! GCC selected 32 semi – finalists.

These 32 semi-finalists went through a holistic Entrepreneurship Program. Over a period of seven weeks, the program included:

  • 20 Workshops-covering all the topics an early stage start-up would need to grow their business plan, conducted by renowned speakers from all over the world.
  • One on one mentorship sessions, with industry leaders from the GCC, with at least two mentors assigned to each team.
  • Q&A sessions and industry discussions with GII’s Chief Investments Officer, Mr. Amit Jain.
Workshop with Pilatus Capital

Through this journey the 32 semi – finalists submitted their Reports and Business Model Canvases and along with the mentors’ feedback, the Top 10 finalists were selected.  

The closed pitch took place at the Indian Pavilion at Expo 2020, where the 10 finalist startups presented their business models, to a panel of esteemed Jury, each pitch was evaluated equally considering content value, competitive advantage, presentation strength, financial data and global market attractiveness. Each team was given 7 minutes to pitch and 3 minutes of Q&A with the jury. Discussions during this part of the event remain confidential.

The judges panel list was presented by:

  • Dr. David Teece, Chairman and Principal Executive Officer at Berkeley Research Group
  • Dr. Arshi Ayub Mohamed Zaveri, CEO, Trust with Trade Senior Advisor Royal Family Offices, UAE
  • Yogesh Mehta, Founder and CEO, Petrochem Middle East
  • Saif Al Suwaidi, Analyst Global Special Situations, Abu Dhabi Investment Council
Core Team of Eureka! GCC 2021

This event was followed up by an Open Pitch and Gala Dinner, at Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, The Palm. It was attended by more than 250 distinguished guests and representatives like: the Consul General of India, Eureka! GCC finalists, E-Cell IIT- Bombay team, Winners of Eureka! India, GII team, Eureka! GCC associates and contributors, renowned CEOs, VCs and business leaders from the region.

The team Networked? with over 60 top industry leaders taking a direct part in the competition as Jury Members, speakers or mentors for this year’s first edition of Eureka! GCC. They played an integral part in the competition. GII opted to start a positive trend to move from the traditional corporate gifting and make a small difference by donating to the cause of healthcare and research specifically to Al Jalila Foundation.

Each contributor’s name was engraved on the Bassmat Bin Rashid wall at Al Jalila Foundation located in Dubai Healthcare City. They also received a certificate of appreciation from the Foundation.

Welcoming All Contestants and Judges

Prizes worth more than $100,000 were given out and the winners of the Eureka! GCC were announced:

WINNER: $25,000- My Gold Souq, Amy Vaya and Priyesh Vaya
1st Runner Up: $15,000- Tracer, Khalid Roumieh and Wassim Jaber
2nd Runner Up: $10,000- Veehive, Sathish Jeyakumar and Andrew Widera
3rd Runner Up: $5,000- Farmin, Ali AlHammadi and Abdullah Al Shamrani

Along with a successful recognition of all the winners, GII announced their MENA Tech Portfolio Fund that will support the most ambitious business models from the region.

Winner – My Gold Souq

The proposed fund – MENA Tech Portfolio I (MTP I) will launch soon and will be deployed for investments in companies across each sector in the GCC and wider MENA region focusing on early stage opportunities such as seed investment, pre-Series A and Series A rounds. MTP-I will be a hybrid portfolio approach with pre-identified opportunities offering greater deal certainty and transparency as opposed to a traditional blind pool fund.

Speaking at the event, GII Co-Founder and Co-CEO Mohammed Al-Hassan said, “The quality of the startups we have seen in this competition is inspiring and I congratulate all the winners. Entrepreneurship is a creative and constructive pursuit which produces positive impacts, and we are pleased to support the region’s budding entrepreneurs through such programs.”

Mohammed Alhassan and Pankaj Gupta- CEOs and Founders of GII

GII Co-Founder and Co-CEO Pankaj Gupta added, “It is a matter of pride for GII to be associated with such a prestigious institution as IIT Bombay via its Entrepreneurship Cell and I would like to express my gratitude to their team; to GII team; and to the people who have worked so hard to make this event a success. The world is facing some of its biggest challenges ever, from climate change and environmental issues to human productivity and healthcare. Entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation hold the keys to solving these issues.”

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