What is the MENA Hackathon ??

One of the Middle East’s first region-wide virtual hackathons on cloud-based innovation hosted by Tamkeen Bahrain and powered by Amazon Web Services.

The Goal Of The MENA Hackathon:

Over a period of 48 hours, the minds of selected young individuals with various skills and backgrounds will be put together to collaborate and come up with brilliant tech-based solutions in the form of applications* and prototypes* to overcome any identified challenges existing in different world sectors.

*The provision of all resources including Prototype and Application Development support is facilitated by the AWS Cloud Innovation Centers in Bahrain.

Hackathon Themes

The themes of the MENA Hackathon will include the following sectors:


Each year the world is exposed to new volumes of compelling research that can reflect progress in this field in a variety of dimensions—new age investigations, up and coming sources of data, and fresh, unique methodologies are needed to be applied in order for innovation to flourish in the field of Health Information Technology.


  • Developing new tools that make the technological interfaces used in the medical field more effective
  • Identifying creative practices to better manage the transitions of IT systems and monitor system performance.
  • Developing real-time automated surveillance methods that make data sharing more efficient and visible.


With the rapid advancement and application of leading information technologies in the tourism and hospitality industry, it is imperative to update the growth of technology use in the past decade and set up research agenda for future exploration.


  • Developing cutting-edge tools to make it easier for businesses to automate operations for improved productivity and cost-efficiency.
  • Designing engaging and attractive mechanisms that tourism companies can adopt to deliver services to their customers with improved service quality.
  • Discovering solutions that the hospitality sector can utilize to cope with AI and robotics technologies replacing traditional workforce.

Smart Cities

More than 50% of the world’s population already lives in urban areas, with that figure predicted to rise to 70% by 2050. To reduce the challenging strain on infrastructure and the environment, cities are in need of becoming more efficient with resources, more adaptable and more resilient. Innovative Smart solutions are in need of creation to squeeze more efficiency out of the system.


  • Developing innovative technologies that support investment in sustainable infrastructure like public transport and green spaces in urban cities.
  • Creating modern-age frameworks that can be implemented to improve career and business opportunities in smart-cities.
  • Figuring out how cloud-based technologies can aid urban-planning and management in smart-cities?

Can your idea solve one of the above challenges or more? Are you ready to take this unique opportunity of a life-altering experience? Do you want the chance to  turn your creative ideas into innovative tech solutions that could change the world!??!


On the occasion of this collaborative initiative, Mr. Esam Hammad, Partnership and Customer Engagement Director at Tamkeen, said “The regional hackathon provides a unique opportunity for participants to exercise their innovative and creative skills while putting them into action, especially since the Kingdom’s direction is heading towards digital transformation. The hackathon will enable participants to pitch their ideas and creative solutions to help develop Bahrain’s sectors in tourism, urban infrastructure, and health care, which this year has proven its necessity for innovation and flexibility. This also goes in line with our objectives at Tamkeen of empowering aspiring entrepreneurs and supporting their sustainable ideas.

This uniquely interactive event was also praised by Dr Khalid Al Mutawah Director of Governance and Enterprise Architecture at the Bahrain’s Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) who said, “Visionary events such as the MENA Hackathon will encourage the youth across the MENA region to overcome challenges and come up with solutions that have the potential to improve the quality of life of citizens and promote sustainability in Bahrain and the region.

Nidal Al Basha, Digital Innovation Leader, Cloud Innovation Centers, AWS, Middle East and North Africa, said, “We are excited to be collaborating with Tamkeen in launching this hackathon and engaging young talent to solve some of the region’s challenges with AWS cloud technologies. By extending the resources of the Cloud Innovation Centers, participants will get expert mentoring, acquire new skills, and learn about the limitless opportunities to innovate on the cloud.

Application Requirements



Level 1 – High School Students (ages 14-18)

Level 2 – University Students & Recent Graduates (ages 18-30)

TEAM REQUIREMENTS: Min. 2 to Max. 5 Team Members


Shortlisted Applicants Announcement: 7th JANUARY, 2021

Free Pre-Hack Learning Days!!

Prior to the MENA Hackathon event itself, two consecutive Pre-Hack Learning Days will be held. 

Every participant has the opportunity to attend these days for FREE where various types of engaging and beneficial activities relevant to each sector will take place. 

Attendees of the Pre-Hack Days might get the opportunities to win some pre-hack mini-prizes or giveaways and get the chance to attend formal and informal meet-ups and gatherings!

Types of Activities:

Speaker Sessions with prominent industry personalities

Panel Session 1 :

Living the “Smart” Life

13 Jan 2021 – 4pm to 5pm

This panel takes a deep dive into smart cities and its important elements like 5G, Internet of Things, Wireless communication, and many more!


Saba Saleem Warsi
Stories Studio



-Dr. Reham Almesaeed
Assistant Professor – CE – IT
University of Bahrain

-Mohamed Elkanzi
ICT Lecturer
Bahrain Polytechnic

Panel Session 2 :

Transcending Borders – A Modern Look at ICT

13 Jan 2021 – 3pm to 4pm

This panel provides a fresh outlook on the role that ICT has played and is playing in transforming the modern lifestyle, entertainment and consumer industries.


Dina Shabib
Etijah Coaching & Consulting Services


-Dr. Christos Gatzoulis
Head of School: ICT
Bahrain Polytechnic

-Dr. Mazen Ali
Associate Professor: IS
University of Bahrain

– Nidal Al-Basha 
Digital Innovation Lead – MENA Region
Amazon Web Services

Panel Session 3 :

How 2020 Has Changed Healthcare – and What’s Next?

12 Jan 2021 – 3pm to 4pm

This panel discusses the challneges in the healthcare sector, touch on the pandemic and the importance of improved tech in healthcare and the next steps.


Dina Shabib
Etijah Coaching & Consulting Services


– Rohit Srivastava
Chief Executive Officer 
Royal Hospital For Women and Children

– Wafeeq Ajoor
Consultant/Advisor (IT)
National Health Regulatory Authority

Panel Session 4 : 

How to Fund Your Business Idea

12 Jan 2021 – 4pm to 5pm

You’ve got your idea, the passion, the knowledge: what about the funding? this workshop helps you discover the important role of seed investment and how to secure it to boost the growth of your startup into becoming a successful business.


Dina Shabib
Etijah Coaching & Consulting Services


– Mr. Hussain Haji
Chief Executive Officer | Co-Founder

– Ms. Sara Schwab
Founder | Chief Executive Officer
The Experience Accelerator

Workshops by leading field experts

Workshop 1 : 

A Curious Guide to Technovation

12 Jan 2021 – 5pm to 6pm

Learn and and be curious, that is the key leadership principle that this expert workshop promotes; here, you will learn about the unique combination of technology with innovation.


Nidal Al-Basha 
Digital Innovation Lead – MENA Region
Amazon Web Services

Workshop 2 : 

Push That Pitch!

13 Jan 2021 – 5pm to 6pm

A simple guide on how to professionally design and pitch your idea and transform it into a winning product.


Saleh Abbas
Senior Program Manager
Flat6labs Bahrain

Event Information






HACKATHON EVENT:  12 PM (Thu) – 12 PM (Sat) (UTC+3)


Judging Round & Closing Ceremony:  3 PM (UTC+3)

 NO. OF TEAMS: 20+




*The hackathon will be held completely virtually through a wide range of user-friendly and innovative online platforms.


On the evening of 16 January 2021, a total of 15 teams were declared as winners from the Healthcare, Tourism and Smart Cities sectors in each of the 2 admissable age-groups of the MENA Hackathon. The winning teams belonged to 7 different countries from the MENA region.

Business Incubation Opportunities!

Personalized Mentorship Session with AWS for Winners!

A Spot in Flat6Labs Bahrain Bootcamp for Select Winners!

 $10,000+ Worth of Amazon Devices in Prizes!

$4,000+ Worth of AWS Promotional Credits for Winners!

Exclusive Innovation Training by AWS!

Award Plaques for Winners!

   Participation Certificates!

Hackathon Modules

The MENA Hackathon will offer the support of various Mentors with knowledge of the relevant sectors to assist the teams during the different hackathon modules.

Judging Criteria

Innovation Level: is how the judges will measure your team’s awareness of the other attempts made by your potential competitors at solving the issue you are, and how you intend to position yourselves in the Hackathon. Is your team aiming to pull off an idea no one has ever pulled off before? Is your idea unique and brand new?

User Experience: is an element that will determine the key “wow” component of your solution to a challenge. What impression did your team’s hackathon application and content of pitch make? It would reflect the ingenuity of your idea despite your team’s diversity. Does your prototype incite feelings of delight, empowerment, excitement, or even relief in a human being when they use it?

Working Idea: means that the judges will test the realistic capabilities of your solution. Your team’s pitch and prototype should give a decent indication of the reliant factors and effort levels required to implement and produce the proposed technology. This criteria would aim to quantify that.

Meet The Hackathon Mentors

Nidal Al-Basha

Digital Innovation Lead – MENA Region

Amazon Web Services

Mohamed Elkanzi

ICT Lecturer

Bahrain Polytechnic 

Rohit Srivastava

Chief Excecutive Officer

Royal Hospital For Women and Children

Dina Shabib


Etijah Coaching & Consulting Services

Dr. Reham Almesaeed

Assistant Professor – CE – IT

University of Bahrain

Wael Alkhumour

Digital Innovation lead – Public Sector

Amazon Web Services

Nicholas David

Solutions Architect – SPC

Amazon Web Services

Meet The Hackathon Judges

Nidal Al-Basha

Digital Innovation Lead – MENA Region

Amazon Web Services

Khaled F. Alalawi

Entrepreneurship Support Manager


Dr. Christos Gatzoulis

Head of School: ICT

Bahrain Polytechnic

Wafeeq Ajoor

Consultant/Advisor: IT


Dr. Mazen Ali

Associate Professor: IS

University of Bahrain

Fawzi Rahal 

Managing Director 

Flat6Labs Beirut

Dina Shabib


Etijah Coaching & Consulting Services

Yehia Houry 

Managing Director

Flat6Labs Tunis

Mounir Chehab


Bahraini Company


Organized By

Powered By

Organized By

Supported By



MENA Hackathon Launch

Biz Bahrain Press Release (8th Dec, 2020)

StartUp Bahrain Press Release (8th Dec, 2020)

Gulf Daily News Press Release (9th Dec, 2020) 

Al Ayam Newspaper Press Release (10th Dec, 2020) 

Post MENA Hackathon

Biz Bahrain Press Release (22nd Jan, 2021)

StartUp MGZN Bahrain Press Release (24th Jan, 2021)

Al Ayam Newspaper Press Release (25th Jan, 2021) 

Al Bilad Newspaper Press Release (25th Jan, 2021) 

Those not interested in hacking can choose to get involved as volunteers to provide additional support during the event. With the MENA Hackathon being fully online, it has the potential to build networks along local and regional markets, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to be a part of that action! To apply as a volunteer please send your CV to pr@etijahcoaching.com.

For any further Inquiries, please contact us on our WhatsApp Number: +973 3508-0654

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