This Monday STC and InspireU hosted Get in the Ring Middle East 2016, one of 9 regional rounds of the startup competition Get in the Ring, held in 80 countries around the world. The champion jury members chose the startups Vanoman and SolarizEgypt as the regional light- and middleweight winner.

The goal of Get in the Ring is to provide startups the opportunity to connect to resources like capital, talent, and expertise to grow their company. On Monday afternoon, all the winners from finals in the Middle East joined together to battle for one of the 4 spots on stage later that evening. During the day startups got in-depth pitch training, valuable feedback, and network introductions from invited investors and experts.

Yaseen from SolarizEgypt: “I have met more valuable people today than in the past month combined”. Fadi from Vanoman: “I received so much valuable feedback today; I’ll work on it and use it to my advantage in the International Final!”

Over 450 visitors, and hundreds more through the livestream, could follow their favorite startups in their battle to become the most promising startup in the Middle East. After two heated battles the expert jury chose startup Vanoman as the Lightweight winner and SolarizEgypt as Middleweight winner. The show ended with a short keynote of Dr. Khaled H. Biyari, CEO of STC, who shared with the audience his support for Get in the Ring, his ambitions with innovation and entrepreneurship at STC and the growth of their new incubator/accelerator InspireU.

Winning grants the startups an opportunity to represent the region during the International Final in Colombia, Medellin on March 15th. Startups from 9 regions in the world will come together for a four-day program to decide who will be the best globally.

Yaseen from SolarizEgypt: “The level of the competition was high, I did not expect to win, but the training I had today gave me a knock-out punch”

It’s not all about winning at Get in the Ring, connecting to the right resources can yield equal success. Hani from Fadfid, a startup from Palestine who didn’t make it to the final stage, arranged several meetings with possible investors and potential launching customers in the Saudi Arabian market during the event, his goal is to enter the market.

Jochem Cuppen, global director of Get in the Ring, on the choice for Saudi Arabia as the location for this event: “The main reason for hosting Get in the Ring Middle East in Saudi Arabia is to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and provide them a podium that is not only local, but also international. Since we started working with STC and InspireU we have made a big impact in the region and this time we even have 2 startups from the region in the International Final”