wins inaugural "pitch for investment" competition at SME Congress & Expo wins inaugural "pitch for investment" competition at SME Congress & Expo

19.12.2013: New ecommerce platform targets UAE’s AED1.6 billion stationary and office supplies market

New ecommerce platform targets UAE’s AED1.6 billion stationary and office supplies market

photo caption:The team behind, the inaugural winner of the Pitch for Investment competition at the SME Congress & Expo., an online shopping platform that aims to sell more than 50,000 stationary items to a UAE market valued at AED1.6 billion, has won the inaugural Pitch for Investment competition at the SME Congress & Expo last night.

The UAE-based start-up will provide stationary and office supplies up to 20 per cent cheaper than brick & mortar retailers, offering school children’s parents, university students and small businesses a cost effective and convenient shopping solution for their daily requirements.

Walied Albasheer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of, said that with more than 800,000 school children, 100,000 university students, and 240,000 small businesses in the UAE, the market for its ecommerce platform is ripe for picking.  In three years, the company plans to generate AED16 million in revenue, and a ten per cent of the target market share.

“The whole idea of came about through a personal challenge I had when searching for stationary for my own three young daughters, and I’m sure that many parents in the UAE experience the same challenges,” said Albasheer, whose website will launch in January 2014.

“Children are very particular about the stationary they want, and buying the right items can take days or weeks going from store to store.  What provides is an enjoyable shopping experience, convenience, and availability of products at cheaper prices. 

“Our research found that the total addressable market is 1.2 million customers spending AED1.6 billion annually on stationary and office supplies.  Our aim is to capture 10 per cent of our target market in the first three years.” was voted as the best out of ten Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) finalists from more than 200 nominations across the Middle East in the Pitch for Investment competition, which was launched at the SME Congress & Expo to help the region’s brightest SMEs and entrepreneurs meet potential investors and attract capital for their growing businesses.

The finalists delivered live presentations in front of a panel of judges across the first two days of the three-day event, with walking away with a US$5,000 Management Training Course provided by IIR Middle East and two Business Class Flights from the event’s Official Carrier, Etihad Airways.

Joint runners up were Tech Backpack, a journalism reporting e-tool that speeds up and simplifies digital storytelling, and Asly, a mobile SMS service providing consumers with information about the goods they buy and authenticating genuine products versus falsified products.

The SME Congress & Expo, which ran at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre this week, featured a congress helping SME owners navigate the complex landscape of owning and running their own business, while a dedicated exhibition enabled entrepreneurs to meet new partners and suppliers to help expand their businesses.

The new powerful platform for SMEs across the region took place with the support of Strategic ICT Partner Etisalat, and was held in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.  Event Partners included Nexus and the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

More information about the Pitch for Investment competition, its ten finalists, and the SME Congress & Expo is available at


Pitch for Investment finalists at SME Congress & Expo 2013

Company    Discription

    Asly (Arabic for genuine) is a mobile SMS service that provides consumers with information about the goods they buy and authenticate genuine products vs. falsified products.

Audio Republic
    Audio Republic is a premier branded music service provider in the MENA region, proving customized radio to businesses such as retail stores, malls, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, offices, commercial buildings and financial institutions.

   eHealthcorp’s goal is to extend the reach of specialists and other talented medical professionals to offset the gap for high quality tertiary healthcare facilities in the public and private GCC healthcare sector via their advanced healthcare IT telemedicine network. helps SMEs create new channels to attract clients online and build a vast network of product and service providers for Arab Enterprises in the MENA region.

   MobileCare provides both the patient and the hospital with a new hassle-free way to monitor health conditions remotely.

Spirit of Arabia  
  Spirit of Arabia has developed a leading edge 3D virtual retail store and offers a specially developed product range of clothing and accessories.  
  Customers can conveniently order 50,000 stationery items online by using an ecommerce, mcommerce and scommerce service, reducing overall stationery costs by up to 20 per cent.

    Ta3rifah is a mobile app which provides an automated loyalty program through a Software-as-Service model, differentiated with advanced business analytics and targeted promotions to help retain and gain customers.

    Tawilati offers a one stop shop for diners to search, book and dine at restaurants across the Middle East. For restaurants, Tawilati offers a web-based restaurant and customer management system.

Tech Backpack
    A journalism reporting E-tool to speed up and simplify new sharing and digital storytelling, connecting mainstream media with citizen journalism.

- Lindsay Johnston, Total Communications Dubai - also photo


19.12.2013 / MaP

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