Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and President of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU)



A nationwide competition for school, university, or early startup stages to showcase their innovative ideas and startups.

The competition encourages young entrepreneurs with either an innovative or a business startup idea or prototype to present it to a panel of judges.

It is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to measure their skills against those of their peers. They also can socialize, obtain valuable experience, win prizes, and get exposed to the market and to potential investors and business owners.

Why Participate?

U-Start Competition can help entrepreneurs make their ideas become a reality.

U-Start Competition will provide entrepreneurs the exposure they require and help with networking.

U-Start Competition can give entrepreneurs access to grants, incubation or other prizes.

U-Start Competition will provide feedback on how to improve the idea and reduce starting costs.

U-Start Competition is an entry ticket to the world of entrepreneurship and also to receive expert support and recognition.

Krishnan Gopi
Chief Disruption Officer
GEMS Education
Mohammed Shael AlSaadi
Mohammed Shael AlSaadi
CEO of the Corporate Strategic Affairs Sector
Department of Economic Development DED
Farhan Faraidooni
Farhan Faraidooni
Group CEO at the Socioeconomic and Environmental Development Corporation
Sidra L.L.C


Jury Members



  1. Applicants can be from high schools, universities or individuals from the industry. They will all compete separately.
  2. Startups must be at the prototype phase and not exceed more than 3 years in operations.
  3. Startups must be under either of the following focus areas:
      • Focus Area 1 Entrepreneurship in the service industry and the innovative approaches to provide the best service.
      • Focus Area 2 Innovative ideas in the education and training industries.
      • Focus Area 3 Innovative systems for sustainability.

DEADLINE: January 5th, 2022

  • Focus Area 1 Entrepreneurship in the service industry and the innovative approaches to provide the best service.
  • Young entrepreneurs will submit a short summary of their startup idea and how they plan on being profitable directly on our website.
  • Must contain the following information:
    Problem description, proposed solutions, advantages of the idea compared to competitors if any, potential customers, startup’s value proposition, pricing and sales strategy, financing plans and their visions for the future.
  • Experienced academicians and industry professionals will review applications. The most promising ideas will enter the second round.
  • LIVE PITCH CONFERENCE 3  – January 25th, 2022
  • The best applicants will then enter the second round of the Startup Competition.
  • The final top teams who will reach the third and final round will have the chance to win prizes as well as several other valuable resources.
  • Final Event: 24 February 2022 – Innovation Arabia Summit – A recap of the competition, and the announcement and award of the top three winners.



A good presentation usually has the following content (not necessary in the same order) and these are the key criteria judges are looking for:

  1. Concept and vision including the elevator pitch: one liner about your product or service
  2. Market opportunity: Define market size & customer base
  3. Problem & current Solutions
  4. Product or service: Your solution
  5. Business model: Key Revenue Streams
  6. Market approach & strategy: How you grow your business
  7. Team & key stakeholders (investors, advisors, partners)
  8. Finances
  9. Competition
  10. Investment: Your ‘Ask’ (funding, mentoring, market access etc.) + short use of resources
  • Language: English
  • Maximum 10 PPT slides + Front cover. Any appendices must be included within the 10 slides. (The 10 slides exclude the Front Cover).
  • The Front Cover should include:
  • Startup name and university name
  • Year of operation (If Applicable)
  • Country the startup represents
  • Name of advisor(s)
  • Contact details (e-mail + phone) for the startup members

Sponsors and Partners

[U-START] Competition Sponsor
[U-START] Partner
[U-START] Partner
Official Supporter
Official Supporter

Media Partners

International Business Magazine
startups magazine