Applied Innovation Institute, Ooredoo and Pearson have announced that the Arab Mobile App Challenge (AMAC) will take place again in 2014, following the success of last year’s pilot competition.

The Challenge, which saw thousands of participants enter in 2013, will help foster innovation and entrepreneurship amongst young people in the Middle East and North Africa. Entrants are tasked with designing a Mobile App for one of four sectors: healthcare, entertainment, education or ‘other’. In addition to acquiring new business, employability and technological skills, entrants also have the chance to win cash prizes of US$25,000, $15,000 and US$10,000 for first, second and third place, respectively. Due to a unique collaboration, winners are also given the opportunity to compete in the Global Mobile App Competition held at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. This will provide young entrepreneurs from this region a chance to connect with founders of other digital start-ups, and meet with potential business sponsors.

Many leading regional organisations are on board to support AMAC 2014 including Pearson, IE Business School, Mada, Oasis500, Supcom, Wamda, MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region, Potential, In5, Qatar Business Incubation Center, Bader Lebanon, Coworking+961, the Queen Rania Centre for Entrepreneurship, Touch Lebanon, Zain Kuwait, Zain Jordan and Int@j Jordan.

AMAC entrants will receive mentoring from experienced business representatives. Mentors will help participants develop their ideas from concept stage through to completion, with a view to creating viable business ventures for the MENA market. The Challenge has been designed to teach the region’s young people the skills needed for business start-up – with great results. More than 15 percent of participants from last year’s Challenge who made it to semi-final stage, now own start-up businesses.

Nassim Ershaed from Pearson says that by promoting entrepreneurship in this way, the Competition is directly contributing to job creation and economic growth in the region.

“With one of the world’s largest youth populations, it is critical that developing entrepreneurship skills in our young people is given the highest priority. A recent report by the World Economic Forum found that the region needs to create 75 million new jobs by 2020 – that’s a 40 percent increase on the number of jobs in existence in 2011. One of the most important things we can do to increase the number of jobs being generated is to nurture entrepreneurship. The Arab Mobile App Competition is a very credible and very practical way in which entrepreneurship is being raised in the consciousness of our young population, and in its small way, will help the region’s record-breaking youth population flourish in the years ahead”.

Pearson has been chosen to sponsor the education section of the Challenge. As the world’s largest learning organisation, supporting education initiatives such as this is a priority for the company. Ershaed says:

“We are delighted to be sponsoring AMAC once again this year. At Pearson we strongly believe that a successful education must prepare learners for life and work in the 21st century. We also believe that learning can be achieved in many ways – and that the best learning does not always take place in the classroom. AMAC is an excellent example of real world learning – setting up participants for future success in their careers, whether they plan on starting their own business or working for an employer.

“Pearson is thrilled by the success of many of last year’s finalists in their business ventures. As a company committed to efficacy in education, we readily welcome this kind of measureable success. We are delighted to see AMAC return this year and look forward to seeing the inspiring app solutions participants design in this challenge”.

Entry to AMAC 2014 is open to the entire region. Acceleration and webinar workshops for all selected teams will begin in September. To find out more and to register, visit

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Founder of, Abbas has been living and breathing technology before phones became smart or clouds started storing data. You can contact him at


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