100 Arab Start-ups that are shaping the 4th Industrial Revolution

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Bahrain Economic Development Board, has opened online applications for 100 Arab Start-ups that are shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2019. Selected start-ups will meet business leaders and policy-makers at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, which will take place on 6-7 April 2019 at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

A wave of young companies and entrepreneurs are changing the economic landscape of the Arab world. By championing innovative and pragmatic solutions, start-ups are improving people’s everyday lives and drive new forms of regional cooperation. At the Forum, we believe start-ups embracing the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution play a key role in shaping the future of their industries and their societies at large,” said Mirek Dusek, Deputy Head of the Centre for Regional and Geopolitical Affairs and Head of the Middle East and North Africa at the World Economic Forum.


A selection committee made up of some of the regional leading experts on the start-ups ecosystem will work with the World Economic Forum and the Bahrain Economic Development Board to select 100 promising Arab start-ups to join the Forum’s meeting at the Dead Sea.

Selection committee:

• Khaled Talhouni, Managing Partner, Wamda Capital

• Hala Fadel, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Leap Ventures,

• Ahmed ElAlfi, Founder and Chairman of Sawari Ventures

• Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Saudi Technology Ventures (STV)

• Amir Farha, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, BECO Capital

• Areije Al Shakar, Director and Fund Manager, Al Waha Venture Capital Fund, and Senior Vice President of Bahrain Development Bank

• Mirek Dusek, Deputy Head of the Centre for Regional and Geopolitical Affairs and Head of the Middle East and North Africa, World Economic Forum

To be eligible, companies should:

• Have received at least one round of funding from outside investors

• If early-stage, be generating revenue with demonstrated early success or have a working prototype that is ready to launch

• If late-stage, be considered a leader or high-potential company in their field

• Demonstrate a commitment to making a substantial long-term impact on Arab business and society

• Not be a subsidiary or a joint venture

The Forum’s Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and business community will also have the opportunity to nominate promising start-ups for consideration by the selection committee.

Start-ups should complete the application form by 13 March 2019 at http://wef.ch/arabstartups19apply

Successful applicants will be contacted by 21 March with further instructions.

More information available here


This initiative aims to further integrate the Arab world’s most promising start-up entrepreneurs into a national and regional dialogue on pressing challenges. Selected entrepreneurs will take part in the official programme where they will engage with industry and government leaders to discuss the future of their industries and how to add value to society.

Travel and accommodation will be covered for the 100 finalists.

About the meeting

With the full support and presence of Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the meeting will convene over 1,000 key leaders from government, business and civil society, as well as leaders from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Levant and North Africa, and key international stakeholders from East Africa, Europe and the United States. Building on the Forum’s Annual Meeting in January in Davos-Klosters and its theme of Globalization 4.0, the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will take place under the theme Building Platforms of Cooperation.