KGSP Student Participates in Prestigious International Competition
Shahd Linjawi, a freshman majoring in Biology at the University of Washington, participated in the 5th MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Saudi Arabia Competition on February 20, 2021, where her team, Genomez, A Project of Medical Diagnostic Assays, won third place in the “Ideas Track” competition for their project pitch. Founded by Shahd’s father at the MIT COVID-19 Beat the Pandemic Hackathon, Genomez focuses on improving mechanisms for testing and analysis of COVID-19, cancer, and other infectious diseases. In the competition, they pitched their idea of designing a PCR Test that integrates Data Science powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technologies to multiply the capacity of existing molecular laboratory infrastructure. As winners, the group progressed to the next stage where they presented at the 14th MITEF Arab Startup Competition held virtually on March 16, 2021. Out of 45 other companies competing, the group was awarded First Runners Up in the “Ideas Track,” representing the only company from Saudi Arabia.
“As part of the Genomez team, we were all happy and excited to see that our effort was being appreciated by the judging panels, giving us the confidence that our invested time and thoughtful process will be impactful,” Shahd expressed.
Prior to the competition, Shahd and the Genomez Team participated in the MITEF Accelerator Program from January 9th to February 15th. She learned from various coaches, including faculty from the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center and professionals from Global Enterprise Network Saudi Arabia, about how to refine and tailor business pitches to investors and improve growth strategies and roadmaps — all of which helped the team to prepare and improve their pitch presentation for the competition.
“Shahd’s experience with MITEF was an exciting opportunity for her to showcase her creative skills and critical thinking with the Genomez team,” expressed Casey Bulen, Shahd’s KGSP Advisor. “This is a huge experience for a freshman and gives her a foundation to build on during her undergraduate career with the KGSP. This shows the passion and drive that she has to use her knowledge, experiences, and expertise to the benefit of others and I’m excited to see how she builds on the success with MITEF in the coming years.”
MITEF is a global network dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and technological innovation. The Saudi Arabia chapter, founded in 2015, aims to support, coach, and acknowledge entrepreneurs and their potential startups and business ideas through its annual startup competition and intensive Accelerator Program.