ISLAMABAD: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ignite, Asim Shahryar Husain on Tuesday said that 12 National Incubation Centers (NIC) startups of Pakistan would participate in LEAP’s startup competition to be started from first February in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia will host the global technology conference LEAP in Riyadh to address future challenges using technology. The conference will involve 350 speakers from 80 countries, as well as 700 innovators and start-ups from around the world with 40,000 local and international visitors, said a news release issued by the Ministry of IT. The event will bring together the world’s greatest minds; from leading technology corporations to inspiring pioneers from global start-ups and venture capitalists with the means to make it all happen. The event will also host “The Rocket Fuel Startup Competition” where startups will exhibit and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, angels, VCs, and government stakeholders. There is an opportunity to win total awards worth $1 million for startups. The 12 NIC startups which will be participating in LEAP included ExpertFlow (Healthtech), Mapalytics (AR/VR), Stech (AI), Exbid (Shared economy), Student1stop (Edtech), TB-AI (Healthtech), BizB (Ecommerce), Smart Helmet (Cleantech), Asani.io (AI/Big data), Hukum Janab (Services), Mytm (Fintech), and Arm Rehab Technologies (Healthtech). CEO Ignite, Asim Shahryar Husain, said “It is a proud moment for Pakistan, MoITT, Ignite, and our NICs that 12 NIC startups will be participating in LEAP 2022. It will provide a global platform for Pakistani startups to pitch their business ideas and products to foreign investors. 2021 was a great year for Pakistan startups where investment grew by 5 times over 2020 and 2022 looks even better.” Held under the theme ‘One Eye on the Stars’, LEAP is organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology with the cooperation of the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security, Programming and Drones. It will address future energy technologies that will enhance the region’s leadership in the oil and gas sectors and the impact of technology on the development of energy sources. Additionally, LEAP will tackle other topics, including healthcare technologies, to improve the quality of life and increase life expectancy, empowering humans through robots and technologies that enhance food and water security in the region. The event is very valuable for Ignite’s NIC startups to scale up further especially in the MENA region. One NIC startup named “MyTM” had participated in a similar event at GITEX 2021 and had won the first prize in the “Creative Economy” category of the Supernova challenge. This opened new networking opportunities for MyTM to expand further and to raise investment from foreign investors. “This is the benefit of participation in international events because it provides exposure to our startups and creates new networking and investment opportunities for them,” said CEO Ignite.