LaunchED: The Higher Education Pre-Seed Pitch Competition

2023 Competition Rules

Competition purpose

To promote innovation and encourage entrepreneurship as a career option among higher education students in the UAE. It does this through existing higher education-based business incubators by providing pre-seed funding to successful teams to develop a prototype of their product.
  1.  Team members are active students or within 1 year of having completed their degree.
  2. Student teams working with a higher education-based incubator are eligible.
    All team members must be enrolled in higher education or withing 1 year of degree completion as of the proposal submission deadline.
    At least 50% of the team members must have an Emirati passport. A family book is not needed.
    Teams can be as few as one person.
  • At least 50% of the team is Emirati.
  •  Must be working with a higher education incubator that is a member of the Sandooq Al Watan’s Education Incubator Network.
    (Your incubator can register here)
  • The incubator you are working with must be able to accept the funds on your behalf.
  • You must follow your incubators rules for the use of funds.
  •  See the competition rules for full details.
  1. Teams must register by 22 September 2023 for the October pitch competition. The subsequent competition will be held in February of 2024.
  2. Pitches must be submitted through the Sandooq Al Watan online platform by 3:00pm, 30th September 2023. Incomplete or late applications cannot be considered. This deadline is non-negotiable.
  3. The top 20 team applications will be notified by 13th October 2023 that they have progressed to the final round. All teams will be notified of their status.
  4. Pitch Day will be held on 21st October 2023 in Dubai. Winners will be announced at the pitch day closing ceremony.
Competition rules
    1. Each application requires three documents:
      • A maximum 10-page pitch deck that demonstrates:
        • There is a market for the proposed product.
        • A business based on this product could be financially viable.
        • Your team can complete a working prototype within 12 months of receiving funding.
      • The pitch deck to be used on pitch day. This deck should be limited in size, able to be presented in 5 minutes.
      • Team information form.
    2. Finalist teams will be asked to pitch their proposal to the judges in person on pitch day. The whole team should attend the pitch session as the angel investor panel will also be assessing your team’s capacity to successfully complete a prototype within 12 months.
    3. If your team misses the pitch day, the opportunity to compete is lost.
    4. Pitch sessions will last 10 minutes and will be strictly timed as follows:
      • Five minutes are allocated to the pitch presentation by the team.
      • Five minutes are allocated to the judges to ask questions.
This is not much time. You should assume the angel investors have read your proposal, your pitch deck, and your team information.  The pitch is a chance to show your passion for the proposal, and to demonstrate why your team and your idea should be funded.
  1. Up to AED 250,000 will be awarded on pitch day, with successful pitches receiving a maximum of AED 25,000 each.
  2. The proposal submitted must be the work of the team pitching it. We expect you will receive guidance from your incubator, but all members of the team must have been involved in its development. The judges will check this closely.
  3. Funding is being awarded as a grant to your business incubator for your team’s use. Sandooq Al Watan does not request any equity in your idea in return for the grant. You retain all rights to the intellectual capital developed. Your team must follow the rules of its hosting business incubator for how the funds can be used.  Any funds not used by the Team at the end of 12 months will revert to the hosting business incubator to support other student projects.
  4. Teams receiving funding must submit progress reports every 4 months with a summary of how funds are being used and the progress made against plan. Your team will be asked to demonstrate the prototype once it is complete.  While we hope every team succeeds in creating a prototype, Sandooq Al Watan is just as interested in your experience and what you learned from it.  Even if you are not able to complete your prototype, the judges would still like to interview your team at the end of the time limit. Participation in this competition is a learning experience, just like all experiments in innovation.
  5. The business concept presented must respect the culture and values of the UAE.
Where to submit?
  • Please fill out the following form:  SW Application Form
  • Once you submit the form you will be sent your unique proposal link by email. Please save this link to avoid having to re-enter your proposal. You can use this link to modify your proposal until 3:00pm on 30’th September 2023. Further changes cannot be accepted once the deadline has passed.
What criteria will determine selection?
  • Market analysis

  • Financial feasibility

  • Ability to developing a prototype within 12 months of receiving funding.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

The Angel Investors’ Scoring Sheet is shown below.  This is how the Angel Investors have been asked to assess your proposal and your team.

Angel Investor Pitch Evaluation Form

Team’s Name:

Angel Investor’s Name:

Rate based on how likely you think each criterion is on a scale from 0 to 100%.

The team need to convince angel investors of three things % Score
a) There is a market for the product.

b) A business based on this product could be financially viable.

c) The team can complete a working prototype within 12 months.


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