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TDA’s $10,000 Project Funding Competition

Betty Tűndik

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Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Top Digital Agency (TDA) is ringing in the New Year with a global project competition for companies!

TDA decided to give back to its community by creating a competition to find the best global projects and to earn a chance to win $10,000 in project funding. They wondered what the best way was to show that they believe in their community, so it was decided that a competition is the best way to express this. TDA is literally re-investing in its community.

The CEO and Founder of TDA, Goran Deak, had a few comments to make to start-off the competition. “TDA wants to transform the search for digital services by creating a simple, transparent and borderless platform. On that note, we want to recognize the pioneers in that push and reward them for helping us change the world.”

Some of the rules of the competition are that the project’s budget must be $10,000 USD minimum, the project must fit the list of expertise provided on the TDA platform (e.g. Web Development, Branding, Social Media Advertising, etc.), and the company publishing the project must state that they have the true intent to hire an agency when the competition concludes. The rest of the terms can be found at this page.

TDA wishes everyone a prosperous new year, and may the best project win!

About Top Digital Agency

Top Digital Agency is dedicated to simplifying the search between organizations and agencies in the digital marketing world. Our platform is based on the idea that agencies and companies can work together no matter where they are in the world – the only thing they need is a way to meet. For more information, please refer to https://topdigital.agency/about-us/.

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Awards

Qatar Science & Technology Park Awards Young ‘Techpreneurs’ at Finale of the Arab Innovation Academy

Betty Tűndik

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Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director, QSTP, and Alar Kolk, President, EIA, with the winning teams of the second edition of the Arab Innovation Academy in Doha. (Qatar Science & Technology Park)
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

The second edition of the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA), a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) – part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) – and the European Innovation Academy (EIA), concluded with a grand pitching and graduation ceremony at QSTP on Tuesday, January 15.

AIA is the first and largest entrepreneurship program in the region, aimed at equipping entrepreneurs in Qatar, the MENA region, and the global community with the skillset to build their start-up in just 10 days. The accelerated mode of experiential learning introduced participants to cutting-edge methods and tools in entrepreneurship, from team formation and idea creation to pitching to venture capitalists and angel investors. During the competition, participants developed and launched new tech ventures in a real marketplace, with genuine customer feedback.

The program, which began on January 2, brought together world-renowned technology collaborators; more than 160 participants selected from a pool of over 900 applicants; 25 speakers; and 37 mentors and investors, representing 30 different nationalities. The second edition of AIA also witnessed even greater participation in the program from Arab women.

Commenting on the success of the event, Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director, QSTP, said: “I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in the second edition of AIA, with the majority of the teams completing their projects throughout their journey with us.

“Arab Innovation Academy is one of QSTP’s flagship initiatives, by which we follow through on our commitment to support tech-based entrepreneurship ventures in Qatar – through incubation, funding, training, mentorship, and connections to regional and global tech innovation ecosystems. We believe that this program contributes enormously to expanding the economic diversity of Qatar, and in developing its human capital.

“We look forward to educating the public and raising further awareness about the substantial benefits of the AIA program, while encouraging greater participation from the youth of Qatar and the region in our third edition of AIA next year.

Alar Kolk, President, EIA, said: “All of us at the Arab Innovation Academy are proud to have run the second edition of the program, in cooperation with QSTP and Qatar Foundation. This year, we have welcomed a record number of participants from all corners of the MENA region.

“Here, students develop the skills and confidence needed to develop start-ups from scratch, and learn to create unique value in the world of entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This unique, world-changing program is only possible through the vision and leadership of Qatar Foundation and QSTP. Our collaboration promises to empower young people to further the development of essential skills needed to transform the long-term prospects of the region.”

The start-up ideas produced by the participating teams addressed many global problems – from retaining children’s interest in reading and re-utilizing industrial wastes, to simplifying the search for blood donors – and spanned several industries, including health, education, construction, real estate, and tourism.

Two days before the graduation ceremony, the techpreneurs presented their start-up ideas to other participants, mentors, and visitors in a public Startup Expo, answering questions about their products, services, and business concepts. The expo served as a dry run for the teams ahead of the final grand pitching day, where the top 10 teams presented their start-up ideas to investors, received valuable input from the attendees, and were directed toward areas where their business concepts should be further developed.

AIA 2019 first place winner was team ‘Salamat-e’, who developed a mobile app that serves as a ‘health passport’. The app is connected to GPS, and contains information about epidemic diseases in the region of a particular travel destination, as well as prevention methods and necessary vaccinations. The team is composed of Bashar Shawar from Palestine Polytechnic University; Chaimae El Mahdaoui from Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences, Morocco; Polina Ladchenko from Higher School of Economics, Russia; Tareq Osman Babiker from Al Neelain University, Sudan; and Yafa Abd AlRahim from Birzeit University, Palestine.

The second place award went to team ‘Fly Stories’, who created a platform that provides children with an interactive reading experience, and authors with an outlet to publish their stories. Members of the team include Aboubakr Aqle, Ghadeer Abuoda, and Omer Abad from Hamad Bin Khalifa University, a member of Qatar Foundation, Qatar; Jalila Rashid Al Sharqi from Sultan Qaboos University, Oman; and Tasneem Ismail from Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar.

Teams ‘EyeTalk’ and ‘WheelsOnClick’ tied in third place. ‘EyeTalk’ presented a concept of a software-hardware system that can help people with disabilities communicate using just their eyes, by blinking. Team members include Abdelkader Keddar and Samia Cherifi from the University of Abou Bakr Belkaïd, Algeria; Abdullah Abdulwakil and Doğukan Aksu from Istanbul University, Turkey; and Shaikha Alsubaey from Qatar University, Qatar.

‘WheelsOnClick’ created a platform that connects owners of underutilized cars with people in need of cars for a short period. The platform follows the popular Airbnb concept, which users can use to look for, or list cars, for rent. Members of the team include Abhimanyu Saini from Indian Institute of Science, India; Fathalrhman Adam from Al Neelain University, Sudan; Garima Natani from Indian Institute of Technology, India; Omaiyma Hilal Alkathiri from Ibri College of Technology, Oman; and Wisal Ahmed Khatir Bakhat from Alzaiem Alazhari University, Sudan.

Speaking about her AIA experience, winning team member Mahdaoui said: “This opportunity is a life-changing experience for us. It was amazing to meet mentors and people who will support and work with us.

“Even if we just met each other, our harmony was amazing, and I think it’s what helped us win first place. We are now a team of entrepreneurs who will work on one project, develop, grow it, and make an impact in our respective countries.”

One of the investors, Sander van der Blonk, Venture Partner at Heywood & Sons, commented: “I have great respect for the people who came here as individuals and, after two weeks, came out as members of a team, and have thought through some very interesting and difficult issues, developing solutions and cultivating the beginnings of a start-up. I think the presentations that they gave were fascinating and, if this is what these teams are capable of, then this region has seen nothing yet. There’s much more to expect for the future.”

Mentors also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in AIA. Ali Al Sahli, a Senior Assistant Engineer involved in software development at Qatar Petroleum, said: “I enjoyed interacting with the participants, from different backgrounds and with different ideologies. The chance to help them improve and seeing their progress were very rewarding.”

For more information about the Arab Innovation Academy and a complete list of winners, please visit: aia.inacademy.eu.

 

 

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Banking/Financial Services

VCB Kenya Goes Live With Corporate Banking Solution Powered by i-exceed’s Appzillon

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: i-exceed.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Victoria Commercial Bank (VCB), Kenya has gone live with an Appzillon-based omni-channel corporate banking solution to cater to the ever dynamic needs of their tech savvy corporate clients. VCB selected i-exceed over several other vendors due to its proven expertise in delivering digital banking solutions globally and strong technical capabilities. The application will be made available on mobile, Internet, SMS, and USSD channels.

VCB Kenya wanted a solution to address everyday needs of their clients while being future ready at the same time. Appzillon Digital Banking is a one-stop solution that makes the best use of technology to create delightful banking experiences. It leverages the technical prowess of Appzillon Digital Experience Platform, an award-winning omni-channel low-code application development platform that featured in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and Forrester’s Wave reports. Appzillon Digital Banking ranked #2 in IBS Intelligence’s Sales League Table 2018 and 2017 for Digital Banking Solutions.

Dr.Yogesh Pattni, CEO at VCB commented, “Since inception, we have always strived to promote a culture of client servicing through the implementation of smart solutions that have been designed based on a comprehensive understanding of our client’s banking needs. We are confident that the corporate digital banking solution from i-exceed will help us in achieving our goals, expand our client base, and meet client expectations. We have used i-exceed’s Appzillon solution for last four months and have seen considerable benefits in our business with usage of the solution. We are extremely pleased to be associated with i-exceed and pleasingly satisfied with the implementation approach of i-exceed and the technical functionalities of the Appzillon based product.”

Joseph John, Managing Director at i-exceed commented, “This is our first omni-channel solution in Kenya and we expect this to open up further opportunities in the region. We have always dedicated our efforts into constantly evolving our product as a leading-edge digital offering that empowers our clients with future ready solutions and helps them stay ahead of the digital race.”

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Acquisitions

Objectway Acquires Algorfin From Unione Fiduciaria

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: in.objectway.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Objectway, the leading Fintech group in Italy and one of the premier European players in software and services for the wealth, investment and asset management industries, acquired Algorfin, the software and services division of Unione Fiduciaria S.p.A.

Algorfin is specialised in IT and administrative outsourcing services for Asset Management Companies, Custodian Banks and other financial operators, through the Archimede, Diogene and Archimede Governance software platforms.

Archimede is the leading solution for the complete management of open-end and closed-end investment funds, including investors’ management, NAV calculation, compliance and any type of regulatory compliance required. Diogene supports the management of all the activities of a Custodian in the fund management area. Archimede Governance allows Asset Management Companies to perform all the checks required by the European UCITS V regulations. Moreover, Algorfin provides administrative services for back-office management and accounting to some of the premier Italian Asset Management Companies.

A team of over 100 Milan-based, highly specialised professionals from Algorfin join the Objectway Group, which reaches approximately €75 million of annual consolidated revenues following this latest acquisition.

In addition to its core business, Unione Fiduciaria will continue to carry out IT and administrative services for trust companies and to provide its own application software to support control functions and whistleblowing managers.

“This is a significant acquisition for our Group – declared Luigi Marciano, CEO of Objectway – as it consolidates our position as leader in the Italian market for Banks, Asset Management companies, Brokers and Custodian Banks, with a comprehensive offer that covers their application needs and opens new growth opportunities in Italy and other markets.”

“Unione Fiduciaria has identified in Objectway a solid and reliable partner to pass the baton for the development of the Algorfin business. With this sale, the process of focusing on fiduciary activity, the company’s core business, continues and accelerates. This operation allows Unione Fiduciaria to invest additional resources for expansion and thus continue a path already started several years ago,” commented Filippo Cappio, Managing Director of Unione Fiduciaria.

Objectway partially financed the operation, with the support of UBI Banca and Unicredit, as lending banks, and with the assistance of Marco Carbonara from Hi.lex and of Simmons & Simmons, as legal advisors. For the execution of the deal, Objectway was assisted by: UBI Banca, as financial advisor; Giovannelli e Associati, as legal advisor; Russo De Rosa Associati, as tax advisor; Accuracy for carrying out the financial due diligence. Unione Fiduciaria was assisted by Synpulse, as strategic advisor; by KPMG Advisory as financial advisor, KPMG for the vendor due diligence, and by Grimaldi as legal advisor.

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