The Surpluss wins the London Business School MENA Startup Competition 2023


The London Business School (LBS) MENA Startup Competition 2023 announced that The Surpluss won the competition held yesterday at the AstroLabs Academy Campus in Dubai.

The Surpluss is an innovative enterprise offering cross industrial collaboration that aims to convert under-utilised resources into value. With a growing customer base in the UK, Denmark, and the UAE, the company is set to assist 500 companies in the UAE alone within the next year to take transformative climate action to halve their emissions by 2030.

Expressing her delight, Rana Hajirasouli the founder of The Surpluss said winning the competition, now in its second year, would open new doors for the business. “The Surpluss was created as an answer to the climate change challenges that businesses face. Winning this competition in the Year of Sustainability resonates our purpose louder. This distinguished award will greatly improve our recognition across the UAE and MENA region, helping us to attract new and exciting opportunities, and deepen the strength of our network,” she said.

The 2023 LBS MENA Startup Competition builds on the event’s growing reputation as a dynamic platform for fostering innovation in MENA. Supported by the esteemed LBS Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC), the competition has solidified its position as a crucial link connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with venture capitalists and investors throughout the region. It represents a distinctive opportunity for founders to catapult their startups to greater success, secure essential financial support, expand their market reach, and receive valuable media visibility.

This year’s competition attracted more than 90 applications and saw ten seed-stage startup finalists present their pitches to a panel of distinguished judges.

Speaking at the event, LBS Dean François Ortalo-Magné, said “On behalf of LBS and the School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital, my heartfelt congratulations to the winners. The School very much looks forward to hearing more about the continued success and future endeavours of these businesses. What heartens me about the LBS MENA Startup Competition is the participation from across the region in this competition, and the support the School, its local alumni community and the IEPC is giving to the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are witnessing, right across MENA, the development of an ecosystem that allows for the fast flow of talent, information, and resources that helps entrepreneurs quickly find what they need at each stage of growth.”

One of the judges at the event, Sharif El-Badawi, CEO of Dubai Future District Fund commended The Surpluss for their ingenuity and said, “As venture capitalists and investors, what piques our interest are out-of-the-box and novel business ideations that provide exclusive solutions across the board. Our enthusiasm lies in fostering and elevating such startups, as they are the ones to bring real change to the entrepreneurial frontier in the region. The Surpluss platform has the potential to revolutionise the way we think about and manage industrial waste. It is especially timely given the upcoming COP28 in the UAE, which will focus on accelerating sustainable solutions. We eagerly await to see what The Surpluss has in store and look forward to witnessing all the participants ascend to exceptional levels of success.”

Zeal, a Cairo based fintech company, and Hulexo, a UAE based retail ERP system provider were the competition runners-up.

The startup competition was sponsored by Innobayt, AWS Activate, Floward, AstroLabs, and BNK Holding KSCC, a privately held shareholding company headquartered in the State of Kuwait. The competition also attracted support from Spark! Studios, ADG Legal, Bambucorn, and Khwarizmi Ventures.

Commenting on sponsoring the competition, Bader Al-Kharafi, Founder of BNK Holding & Vice Chairman & Group CEO of Zain Group, said “This competition continues to showcase the remarkable entrepreneurial talent in the MENA region, reaffirming our belief in the potential for innovation and growth in this dynamic ecosystem. Witnessing the creativity and dedication of these startups has been inspiring, and I am excited to see their continued progress. BNK Holding remains committed to supporting emerging businesses and the London Business School MENA Startup Competition, and this competition aligns perfectly with our mission to foster entrepreneurship. Congratulations to all the winners, and may your success serve as an inspiration to others. We look forward to witnessing your continued growth and innovation in the years to come.”

London Business School’s IEPC is a key backer of the competition, offering access to education, training and business, and the alumni network that it has produced and continues to support.

The full list of finalists participating in this year’s completion included the following startups: AHAD, a cyber security company based in UAE; Arab Therapy, a wellness company based in Jordan;  Caena, a startup fundraising marketplace based in UAE; DUDI, a wellbeing company based in UAE; Hulexo, a retail Point of Service providing company based in UAE; Innotech, a 3D construction company based in Oman; Organic Waste Management Solutions, a food waste management company based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Playbook, a media and women career empowerment platform based in the Kingdom of Bahrain; The Surpluss, an industrial asset exchange platform based in the UAE; and Zeal, a fintech and payment facilitation company based in Egypt.


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