The MIT Enterprise Forum Pan-Arab was founded in 2005; it is one of the 28 worldwide chapters in the MIT Forum Global. It is an avid promoter of entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. The completion entails three categories: the idea track (no prototype, sales and user interaction required), the start-up track (prototype, some sales and user interaction required) and the social entrepreneurship track (should be a registered enterprise in start-up age).
The semi-finalist for all categories in this competition have been announced and with the finals looming in April in Kuwait City, Kuwait; we at Barakabits decided to sit down with Pi-Slice a semi-finalist from the ‘Social Entrepreneurship Track’ to discuss what they do and what they hope to achieve from this competition.
Founded in 2012, Pi-Slice is an online social platform which empowers micro-entrepreneurs by providing them with a channel that connects them to individuals or companies who wish to help eradicate unemployment by investing with MENA based micro-finance institution. In laymen terms, it helps a Jordanian woman, for example, to set up her own home based sweet shop that requires small credit by connecting her to investors (individual or companies) who wish to invest via micro finance institution. She will then have 12 to 18 to months to pay back the loan amounted to her plus interest to the microfinance institution, who will then return the investment in full sum to the lender.
Why did you name your organisation “Pi-Slice”?
Long story. My previous companies always started with Pi. So I had Pi Consultancy, I had Pi Investment; because I love the number Pi (3.14…). And when I was working on what’s’ called Pi Slice a friend of mine made a joke and said “it is a slice of pie”. And I was thinking it has to be Pi Slice. Because Pi is an infinite number and you can always divide it and always share and that is what Pi Slice means. You can always give and still have more.
In your opinion how beneficial is this competition in this region?
All competitions are beneficial. For some people it is the only way to find investors, learn skills, be visible, and learn how to pitch. It is a lot like a fast track incubator that lots of people in different countries or cities don’t have access to…It is a way for start-ups to be noticed and get their funding. In particular, the MIT competition happens on a regional level and allows both participants and jury to get an insight to entrepreneurship trends across the region.
What are you looking forward to from this competition?
I am looking forward to this week. There will be a good line up of jury and participants to present Pi-Slice and raise awareness on social entrepreneurship in MENA region.