Initially, there were more than 120,000 participants from 187 countries… Tonight, there is only one left. NERV Technologies, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the medical field, has just won the Entrepreneurship World Cup, organized by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), whose final was held in Riyadh, on the sidelines of the MiSk Global Forum.
The young entrepreneurs who participated in the World Cup Entrepreneurs’ World Cup final were not at their first attempt. They had all previously won the regional finals in their countries and the right to come to Riyadh to pitcher their concept before a jury of experts. The result was a cheque for $500,000 for the winner, prizes for all the finalists (the total of the top 5 prizes reached $1 million) but also a myriad of opportunities as Jonathan Orthmans, CEO of GEN explains: “This is an excellent opportunity to develop skills through training. This is not just a site competition, we are also an accelerator, working with many different partners around the world to provide them with mentoring and advice as the competition progresses. Finally, we propose a follow-up over time, with the creation of a network of entrepreneurs that we will continue to support, and to which we will give access to many programs.
“A great joy”
When the verdict is announced, the winner becomes a real star. Adulated, on stage, with the haircut in one arm and the second one around a fan looking for a selfie with the hero of the day, Canadian Amr Abdelgawad, head of operations of the start-up, measures his joy and the progress he has made: “It’s absolutely fantastic to win. These last few days have been a kind of dream, just like the past few years have been…” With Nerv Technologies, he intends to change the current paradigm of the healthcare world, by making it possible to detect postoperative complications in order to offer a more preventive than reactive medicine. Now rewarded, he thinks about the next step. “Our product is still in the experimental phase, so now we are entering the study phase before we start marketing our product…”
The final victory, if it wasn’t being savored by the Canadian right before us, would be almost a detail, as the participants each get the most out of this experience. Some have perfected their business plans, others their “pitching” skills and all have had the opportunity to create a network, and attract investors. This is the case of Michael Waggoner, the creator of Curomat, a company that aims both to reduce organic waste and to reuse it to make quality plastic materials: “In any case, the competition has been a huge resource for us. We were able to make contact with investors, and with an incredible ecosystem, and of course, the reward never hurts. I think that for all the participants, this is a big step forward and that all our companies will be successful.