Agility sponsored the Innovate for Refugees technology competition, an initiative by the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab. The competition, which commenced in 2017, and is running through 2018, looks for the best tech-driven solutions to address the challenges faced globally by refugees. Projects were judged on innovation, scalability, team, financial sustainability, and impact.

Twenty semi-finalists presented their work to a jury comprised of key investors and business people, including Rashad Sinokrot, CEO of GCC SERVICES, one of Agility’s Infrastructure companies.

The winners were announced in Amman, Jordan on January 28, at a ceremony that attracted more than 300 investors, business entrepreneurs, media representatives and public figures. The winning teams, each receiving a $20,000 prize, included individuals hailing from Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sweden, France, Greece, the U.S., Germany, Austria and Turkey.

Winning Teams

  • Paper Airplane (the U.S.) provides free online language and skills instruction to people affected by conflict. The goal is to help individuals learn languages and marketable skills for their pursuit of higher education and employment.
  • Tech for Food (Iraq, Lebanon) provides digital training sessions targeting vulnerable communities to help them become employable in the international digital economy.
  • More than One Perspective (Austria) is an advanced training program that offers various workshops, training and mentoring to prepare highly qualified refugees to enter the labor market.
  • Hope in Sand and Pipes (Lebanon) provides a transitional shelter for refugees using locally available material with minimum maintenance requirements and environmental considerations in the design to minimize the effects of the heat in the summer and cold in winter.
  • Akyas (Jordan) is a personal single-use biodegradable toilet with a sanitizer kit. The bag is made of biodegradable plastics and designed to provide maximum hygiene.

In addition to the cash prize, finalists will also benefit from a mentorship program in innovation and leadership. Mentors will work with one team to insure the success of their initiative, for two hours per month, over a six month to one-year period. The MITEF Pan Arab team will follow up regularly with both mentor and mentees to note progress and challenges faced throughout the mentorship session.

This was the second year of the Innovate for Refugees competition, with wide participation, including more than 1,800 applications from around the world.

Agility’s corporate venture arm, Agility Ventures, partners with start-ups who are championing technologies that can help build faster, more secure, and more sustainable supply chains. They offer start-ups unrivaled access to a global network of resources and the expertise to incubate, invest and scale the best ideas.

Agility has a globally recognized CSR program, covering humanitarian logistics, community volunteerism, fair labor and environmental sustainability. Agility’s humanitarian logistics program has supported humanitarian partners, including the United Nations World Food Program, in more than 50 pro-bono projects related to natural disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies. Since 2006, Agility has completed more than 1,700 community education, health or environment projects affecting more than one million people in 80 countries, including the construction or refurbishment of 38 schools in 18 countries.