Over a week ago now, we had the great pleasure of hosting our very first pitch finale featuring our eleven entrepreneurs. Stakeholders of all ages and areas of expertise came to support our finalists as they presented their refined business ideas to the jury. The jury aimed to provide an outsiders evaluation of the business idea at hand, focusing predominantly on financial feasibility, entrepreneurial spirit and its relevance within the Dutch market. With friends, family, student coaches and specialists providing enthusiastic encouragement, the eleven entrepreneurs were all able to confidently present their business ideas to the jury. The pitches shed light on the great variety of characters, dreams, knowledge and struggles that exists amongst the spirited group we had the pleasure of working with throughout the four-month incubation program. From driving a circular economy through design to tackling fake and poor quality veterinary care in the MENA region; creativity and ambition knew no limits amongst this program’s selection of entrepreneurs.
As the pitches are met with a loud applause and feelings of joy, pride and relief are shared during the break, the sense of community doesn’t go unnoticed. Amidst the large audience exist an uncountable number of collaborations, friendships and future connections. Such enthusiasm and support reflect the great success of our first incubation program, it sheds light on the centrality of community and suggests tremendous potential for our future programs. As the afternoon comes to an end, the jury take the stage to announce the winners. Winner of both the money prize and the DLA Piper consulting hours is Shadi Alhakimi, co-founder of Elanza, a platform aimed to connect nurses with hospitals in a flexible and fair manner. Both Anas Ragheb and Manar Aburshaid also take the stage to receive their prize and share a few words of gratitude. A few tears are wiped away and cold beers are opened; it’s time to celebrate.