Saudi-Based Company WhiteHelmet Named 2022 Entrepreneurship World Cup Champion 
A total of $1 million was awarded to 11 companies. Pictured above: GEN board chair Jeff Hoffman (left) with the first prize winning team, WhiteHelmet.
14 Mar 2023

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – March 12, 2023 – After four days of fierce competition with 100 up-and-coming startups representing 53 countries, one has emerged the victor of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC). WhiteHelmet, a company that provides a platform to manage and monitor construction operations remotely, from anywhere at any time, returns home with a US$300,000 share of the $1 million prize pot.

“We are proud to be the first Saudi company to be ranked first in the world in this international competition for entrepreneurship,” said Abdullah Abalkhail, founder and CEO of White Helmet. “Winning first place at EWC is a testament to the hard work of the WhiteHelmet team, and a great motivation for more work and innovation to raise the efficiency of project management and participate in the digital transformation of the construction sector.” 

Co-hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and Monsha’at – the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority in Saudi Arabia – EWC is one of the world’s largest pitch competitions and startup support programs.   

Since launching in 2019, EWC has engaged more than 400,000 entrepreneurs from 200 countries and connected founders with over US$4 million in cash prizes and another US$266 million worth of perks and free support and services. 

The latest edition of the competition attracted more than 30,000 founders, with 100 of the top-performing countries invited to pitch to a panel of international judges at the Global Finals after several qualifying rounds. The final pitches were held as part of Biban 2023, the largest event for entrepreneurs and small-to-medium-sized enterprises in Saudi Arabia. 

In addition to the grand $300,000 prize, 10 startups from eight countries received cash prizes of $25,000-$200,000 to take their innovative solutions to the next level.  

“These founders and their companies are disrupting their industries and testing big ideas with potential to transform our world,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of GEN. “GEN is proud to co-host the Entrepreneurship World Cup for the fourth year, giving promising companies the opportunity to connect to global markets and investment.” 

Entrepreneurship World Cup 2022 Results 

Early and Growth Stage Category 

  • 1st place ($300,000): WhiteHelmet, a Saudi-based company with a mobile app making it fast and easy to inspect and track the progress of construction sites.  

  • 2nd place ($200,000 prize): NDR Medical, a Singapore-based innovative AI-enabled robotic system that assists clinicians in minimally invasive procedures, facilitating safe and accurate needle punctures to organs such as lungs, kidney, pancreas and spine. 

  • 3rd place ($150,000 prize): Hera Health Solutions, a United States-based nanotechnology company developing a novel therapeutic delivery platform.  

  • 4th place ($50,000 prize): Marlow, a Canada-based company that created the first-ever lubricated tampon. 

  • 5th place ($25,000 prize): Digiphy, a United States-based SaaS B2B company with a connected packaging and contextual marketing platform. 

Idea Stage Category 

  • 1st place ($50,000): PragmaClin, a Canada-based startup that aims to help patients with Parkinson's Disease monitor their condition with the use of its flagship software. 

  • 2nd place ($25,000): Apical, a Mexico-based startup that helps farmers become independent of the acquisition of biological inputs, through a system by which they can grow microorganisms obtained from their own soil. 

Sector Category 

  • Tech and Space ($50,000): BioGrip, a Mexico-based company with a smart bionic system working as a platform to create artificial limbs and rehabilitation devices. 

  • Sustainability and Environment ($50,000): Desert Control, a Norway-based company that aims to turn degraded land and sand to fertile soil, while also reducing water usage for green ecosystems by up to 50 percent. 

Impact Category  

  • Social Impact and Sustainable Development Goals ($50,000): Waykana, an Ecuador-based company that uses natural ingredients from the Amazon to create a natural energy drink and other beverages.  

  • Women Founders ($50,000): GenEngine a Spain-based company that improves healthcare for patients who need it most by optimizing the diagnosis and treatment of genetically-based diseases such as rare diseases and cancer. 

The Entrepreneurship World Cup is made possible with support from a collection of national and global partners including One Valley, The Global Education and Leadership Foundation (tGELF), Entrepreneurs’ Organization, King Abdullah University for Science and Technology and Startup Genome. The Misk Foundation is a founding partner.  

For interviews and further inquiries, please contact:   

Kathryn Forrest  

Communications Manager, Global Entrepreneurship Network 

About the Entrepreneurship World Cup  

The Entrepreneurship World Cup is one of the largest and most diverse pitch competitions and support programs of its kind. Every year, tens of thousands of entrepreneurs from 200 countries compete for US$1 million dollars in cash prizes and millions more worth of investment, support and publicity through national pitch competitions, bootcamps and a global finals event attended by leading investors. However, the Entrepreneurship World Cup is more than just a pitch competition. Co-hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Monsha’at with support from more than 100 partners world-wide, the competition connects applicants at all levels – from idea stage to scale-up – with world-class training, resources and mentorship to enhance their skills and take their ventures to the next level, regardless of whether or not they top the podium. To learn more, visit

Kathryn Forrest

Manager for Communications | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Kathryn is the Manager for Communications at the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), where she is responsible for telling and amplifying its … More