Ollang wins London Business School’s first MENA startup competition
Mita Srinivasan
10x Industry

Ollang wins London Business School’s first MENA startup competition

The London Business School model provides mentorship to startups and access to VCs and has a proven track record of success. Over 93 percent of early-stage companies supported by the London Business School programme over the last five years have gone on to sustained business success. Six of the companies founded by alumni from London Business School have gone on to win unicorn status (being valued at more than $1 billion), including Livspace.

Turkish tech startup, Ollang, won the inaugural London Business School MENA (LBS MENA) Startup Competition 2022. The runner-up was Vaqat from the UAE. Ollang walks away with a $15,000 cash prize along with runner up, Vaqat, receiving $5,000. Beyond this, the competition gives startups the opportunity to develop traction for their companies, reach a wider audience, gain financial investment with access to VCs, exposure to the London Business School global network, and increase their media exposure.

Backed by global giants, Amazon Web Services Activate, Strategy& (part of the PWC network), and Zain, the 12 finalists made their pitches to the prestigious judging panel of Roger Rabbat of Strategy&, Manya Pamnani of Dubai Cultiv8, Jane Khedair, Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC), Philipp Pabst of Dubai Future District Fund and Haya AlMana, currently heading Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Zain Kuwait.

The inaugural competition received more than 70 applications from across the MENA region and represented a wide range of sectors.  It aims to connect inspiring and innovative Middle East entrepreneurs with prominent VCs and investors alongside extensive mentoring. After rigorous assessment phases, the LBS MENA 2022 finalists were selected out of 20 semi-finalists who followed months of extensive mentoring.

Jane Khedair, Executive Director of London Business School’s IEPC said, “This competition has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to expanding our involvement in the startup community in the Middle East in the near future. The innovation and entrepreneurship on display was truly inspiring. Tech startup Ollang, were worthy winners, though I have no doubt many of the finalists will go on to great success with their ventures. I very much hope that this competition can provide the platform for LBS’ next unicorn business and develop the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.”

The LBS MENA competition was created by the new MENA-based Entrepreneurship Club, part of London Business School’s Gulf Association. The new club, which was founded at the beginning of the year, brings together and supports LBS entrepreneurs and startup ventures. With its ambition to grow the school’s reputation as a global hub for venture creation, London Business School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital also provides support and encouragement to the Entrepreneurship Clubs, and the new competition.