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day 2

The second day of Startup weekend was an open space for the participants to work within their teams to validate their ideas and create a business concept out of it, it also consisted of one workshop, which was delivered by Ahmed Alrawi, the CEO of Malaeb App, about creating your wining pitch presentation.

The participants also had the chance to meet the mentors and benefit from their experiences in startups, the mentors were Srusti Ranjan the Co-Founder of 4Spots, Gamal Magdy the Technical Evangelist – Microsoft Bahrain and Oman, Shijaz Abdulla the Principle Solution Specialist – Microsoft Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait, Murali Kamath the Marketing Director – Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Bahrain, Mohammed Toraif the Chief Executive Officer – Fish.me, Ali Mahmood the Founder of Vibe Media.

Alongside the previously mentioned, there were three additional mentors who were also interviewed, Hassan Hamad the founder and lead creative of Vibe Media, Yonis Attiya the Creative Director of Limefish Design, and Shahd AlZaki, the Founder & Creative Director of Mievento Creative Hub.

When interviewed, Hassan Hamad was asked about the reason why he chose to mentor this year again, was because it is something important for both startup community and tech community, and the difference that he saw this year is that it is a bit more quiet as the participants are more focused on their teams and their work, and when asked about his experience as a mentor so far he said it was nice and it makes him feel older than he actually is because of the way people talk to him.

Yonis Attiya, the creative director of Limefish Design, who is also a returning mentor from last year, chose to mentor this year because he loves learning and teaching in the same time and he can do both by mentoring, even though he is not participating he is getting a lot of inspiration and ideas, also, he can share his experience and expertise with the teams and help them develop themselves, especially when he sees the members who were participating last year caming back this year, and he can see the level of development they went through and it makes him happy to see the impact he can bring to different individuals, he is happy to see that the ideas are better and stronger every year and people are aware of how innovation works and they have more insight on what is going on around and they came ready for the next challenge.

As for Shahd AlZaki, the Founder & Creative Director of Mievento Creative Hub, who is mentoring in Startup Weekend for the first time, and that was the reason why she chose to mentor this year, as it is a very new experience for her and she loves being around startup entrepreneurs and startup businesses, and give them a little bit of her experience as a startup and try to help them avoid making the same mistakes she did when she started so they start on the right path, they also motivate her and have her go back to the basics, regarding the ideas, she mentioned that some ideas are very creative and needed in the market at this time, not necessarily Bahrain but the GCC which means they have higher potential to scale which is good.

When the mentors were asked to provide an advise for the participants, Hassan advised: “Focus on the pitch,  whatever that you do, whatever that you create, validation is one of the most important things, getting something that looks like an app but not necessarily is the app is just good enough, you need to show people the possibilities, it shouldn’t be an entire app that you created over a weekend, it is technically impossible in this day and age, considering the complexity of these things, do not waste your time trying to fulfill things that are not on the list, the main thing that you need to focus on is your priorities, you build your priority list in the beginning of your project and it all needs to tie down to the end result which is a successful pitch that will help you win.”

When Yonis was asked about his advice, he said: “You have to focus on the presentation as it is the most important thing in how you look like and how you present, and as a designer this is what I would care about and be careful of, because people in this region really care about how you look like, so your brand, name, how you look like, and the colors you use in your website, they have a psychological effect on persuading the public if your idea is working or not, a lot, other than the actual numbers you have and the information you are communicating.”

As for Shahad, her advice to the participants is: “Take the words of the judges out of your head and do not let them get to you, to a level where you forget your ideas and why you are here, just focus on why are you doing this and your passion and your idea, develop it in the right way, be very organized, manage your time carefully because you have a very limited time, and focus on your presentation because it is all about how you can sell it, you can sell the air to the judges if you believe you can make it happen.”

So what is the key to winning Startup Weekend? It is all about an amazing pitch that explains your business concept, validate it and convince the judges with it!

Amina Naar