These are the best new business ideas in the world

“What does the world’s best new business idea actually look like?”

This question was the beginning of the Entrepreneurship World Cup; a year-long global search for entrepreneurial brilliance.

Over the past year the EWC has been on a mission to discover and develop the top startups around the world- and we were amazed by the 100,000+ business ideas we received from 187 countries! If you’re thinking 100,000 sounds like a staggering amount, that’s what we thought too! But wait until you hear about our prize fund, which soared up to a phenomenal $1 million in cash prizes for the top five and $20+ million of in-kind support and services for our top 100.

We challenged the world to show us what entrepreneurial greatness really looks like. It’s not enough to have an incredible idea; you’ve got to showcase business skills to bring this idea into reality.

You’ve got to be able to stand in front of some of the world’s most established business makers and pitch your idea to them with passion and belief, because out of the 100,000+ only 5 business ideas are going to make it, so your business pitch has to make an impression.

Most importantly, you’ve got to dream big enough to push past the realms of possible and create something that can change the world as we know it.

Our challenge was accepted and over a series of showstopping national, regional and finally global competitions; we saw the greatest startups pitch their way to success.

How did our top five EWC champions claim their spots at the global finals in Riyadh and what did it take for our ultimate winner to snatch the grand prize? Read on to find out.


5th place

SUN Mobility

Who are they?

An Indian startup on a mission to make sustainable road travel a reality for the general public.


What are they doing?

Having identified the four main roadblocks in the electric transport industry as high costs, long charging time, equivalent infrastructure, and range anxiety, SUN Mobility has developed the solutions needed to render these obsolete. These solutions include speedy charging stations, interconnected intelligent systems and smart batteries/networks.


Why did they make the top 5?

The business idea presented to our expert panel was fantastic, but it was the pitch that propelled them to a win – confident and backed up by a solid strategy.


What did they win?

SUN Mobility walked away with a $50,000 cash prize and the Shenzhen prize (awarded to our top 40 finalists) designed to help the company expand into China.


Check out SUN Mobility here

4th place


Who are they?

An Argentinian company disrupting sales with advanced biometric solutions.


What are they doing?

Sumato-ID are using next-gen tech to help retailers optimise costs and maximise sales. The business is using facial recognition, advanced traffic analysis and innovative new communication tools to help companies create personalised promotions in real time – making shopping personal and bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences.


Why did they make the top 5?

Our panel of industry experts were particularly impressed by the unique approach this company is taking in the retail sector. Sumato-ID clearly articulated what it means to be a major disruptor – a startup shaking up its given industry for the benefit of everyone involved, creators and consumers alike. 


What did they win?

 Global exposure and a fantastic $50,000 to help the company flourish.


Find out more

3rd place

Red Sea Farms

Who are they?

A Saudi startup revolutionising farming with seawater


What are they doing?

Red Sea Farms is using cutting-edge tech to cultivate organic and pesticide-free produce while using less water and energy than regular farming methods. By harnessing sea water, farms can achieve a greater level of sustainability and thrive in harsher climates.


Why did they make the top 5?

The company clearly puts purpose above profit, and this saw them become a quick fan favourite amongst the crowd. Our panel was impressed by the scope of this business, and unanimously believed in its potential to transform global agriculture for the better.


What did they win?

Red Sea Farms took home a truly incredible $150,000 to help skyrocket their startup.


See them in action

2nd place


Who are they? 

A USA-based company using biological neurons to create living machines.


What do they do?

Essentially this company is creating the future. By developing next-gen nanotechnology that sees wetware chips infused with biological neurons, Koniku is able to create unbelievably advanced tech such as cameras that can smell cancer and detectors that can spot explosive devices from kilometres away.


Why did they make the top 5?

The level of innovation exhibited by this startup over three days of EWC pitches was nothing short of amazing. The atmosphere was electric as they pitched, with both our audience and panel being blown away, it was like something straight out of a sci-fi movie.


What did they win?

As if coming 2nd out of 102,000 startups wasn’t enough, Koniku also claimed a colossal $250,000 cash prize. We can’t wait to watch them take even greater leaps into the unknown and are thrilled to be a part of their incredible journey.



Discover more from Koniku

1st place

NERv Technology Inc.

Who are they?

A Canadian business using post-surgical tech to save lives


What are they doing?

Developing advanced sensors and predictive models to be used by surgeons in post-operative care. Their technology detects complications that could arise after surgery such as gastrointestinal leakage (which currently affects more than 100,000 patients in the USA every year alone) and provides surgeons with enough foresight to resolve these complications swiftly, minimising any risk of major trauma or even death.


Why did they win?

NERv Technology embodied everything the Entrepreneurship World Cup stood for – one business idea with the potential to change millions of lives. Not only did they smash every single pitch out of the park, they also presented an idea that could make history by ushering in a whole new era for global healthcare. Our judges were unanimous in their praise and excitement for the future of this startup.


What did they win?

Global exposure, expert mentorship and guidance, the title of our world’s best new business and an utterly mindblowing $500,000 cash prize. In a word, remarkable!


See our winner here

To say the Entrepreneurship World Cup has inspired us would be a drastic understatement, each and every startup we saw presented a unique point of view and the determination needed to impact positive global change.


We applaud each and every entrant and can’t wait to see what the next round of the EWC will bring. Want to find out more about our competitors and discover more about what went down at the global final? Click the link below.


Five Misk Merit stories you don’t want to miss

🍿 at the ready – we’ve got something amazing to tell you about!

Our initiative Misk Merit, in partnership with World Merit, is helping global citizens make huge change happen all across the world… and we couldn’t be prouder.

So what was our challenge? Put simply, to develop 50 million global citizens by 2030 – and help create a network of young people capable of tackling some of the world’s toughest issues.

Our strategy? To activate hundreds of youth-led councils across the globe and task them with creating initiatives to support their local communities.

Our (ongoing) results? In a word, incredible!

Our Misk Merit members are taking action and making a remarkable difference by tackling one or more of the following essential Sustainable Development Goals from the UN:

  1. No poverty
  2. Good health and wellbeing
  3. Quality education
  4. Decent work and economic growth
  5. Industry, innovation and infrastructure.

Check out five brilliant Misk Merit ideas that have already had a massive impact below.


  1. World Radio Day, Blantyre, Malawi – 13February

World Radio Day certainly got people listening this year with its focus on dialogue, tolerance and peace. Malawian station MBC Radio 1 introduced Lan, a young man living with albinism, who led a difficult yet desperately needed conversation on the risks facing the Malawian albino community on a day to day basis.

Reaching around 8 million listeners, this Misk Merit event made waves in its local community – and indeed the world!


  1. Tuk Tuk Technology Courses, Siem Reap, Cambodia – May

The tuk-tuk is Cambodia’s number one form of public transport and has recently benefited from the introduction of an Uber-esque platform called PassApp.

Allowing users to book rides and pinpoint destinations via their smartphone, this technology has become increasingly popular amongst tourists, but has threatened to cost non-English speaking tuk-tuk drivers work due to an unfamiliarity with the app and issues with language barriers.

In May 2019, Misk Merit launched a technology training course for Siem Reap tuk-tuk drivers, helping to develop their English skills and ability to use PassApp.

This initiative has supported local drivers and, in turn, their ability to support their own families.


  1. World Book Day, Liverpool UK – 7March

World Book Day gives children and parents the chance to expand their minds with a wide range of literature.

This year, more than 600 UK based pupils aged 5-11 were able to learn more about plastic pollution and the enormous impact it’s having on our environment.

Reading and discussing a book about reducing single use plastic (written by one of our own Misk Merit members) these students became active global citizens, exploring and indeed challenging their own understanding of this ongoing worldwide issue.


  1. Cleanup of Lake Tanganyika, Bujumbura, Burundi – 16 February

Holding 17% of the globe’s surface freshwater and stretching out far enough to border four countries, Lake Tanganyika offers a source of livelihood to more than 10 million people.

Plastic pollution has had a massive impact upon the lake’s water however, prompting Misk Merit members to stage a large-scale cleanup.

This event saw 500 volunteers collect approximately 16,500 pieces of plastic in a single day!

By targeting high profile community members and the local media, this initiative gained enough exposure to be declared a monthly activity and is paving the way when it comes to education about single use plastics in the surrounding area.


  1. Vibrant Park Event, Green Point Park, Cape Town – 23 February

‘Quality education through nature’ was the aim of this Misk Merit initiative. Collaborating with UK based charity HYPE (Helping Young People Everywhere) the Vibrant Park event at Green Point Park helped educate a number of children on their surrounding ecosystems as well as engaging them in a football tournament.

Focusing on improving the attendees’ mental health and wellbeing, this event was exceptionally well received and was successful in activating more global citizens for the future.


Don’t miss a single Misk Merit story, sign up today to stay in the loop and find out how you can get involved.



Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 14 November 2019

After a successful fourth edition of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the event closed today following the announcement of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) winner and two days of insightful panels exploring the future of workspace, workforce and workflow. 

Canadian businessman and TV personality Kevin O’Leary, who was one of the EWC’s judges, described the Misk Global Forum as “the best conference I’ve ever been to in terms of deal flow”. 

During the event, speakers and participants from over 120 different countries engaged in discussions aimed at empowering young people to tackle the new trends and transformations sweeping the world of work. 

The second day commenced with a speech and a panel moderated by H.R.H. Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud on the future of eSports and, its growing importance in Saudi Arabia. The prince explained that: in eSports, the two greatest drivers for change and development have come together – youth and gaming. Those who have not been able to adapt to the needs and wants of the youth generation have been marked as outdated and have faded away. If we do not embrace this generation to guide us on this journey, then we are destined to fade away as well.

In a panel titled “Education – Changing the (Inter)Face of Learning”, speakers addressed the steps to take towards the future of education. Nazrene Mannie, Executive Director at GAN Global, said that organisations need to change how they recruit and recognise talent. Steve Brazel, CEO of Fullbridge, urged educators to change their approach towards education, stating that “smart educators have got to think much broader than curriculum; we’ve got to think from start to finish about the learning experience.” 

Examining the changes that hosting the Y20 summit will bring to Saudi Arabia next year, Sarah Alkhedheiri, Initiatives Manager at the Misk Foundation, explained that the Kingdom is different from other G20 countries in terms of population, and the transformation the country has been experiencing. Alkhedheiri said: “we’ll be able to show the world what Saudi Arabia has, but we’ll also be able to contribute to the world and give more of what we have to offer.” 

The MGF concluded with a full house watching the announcement of the EWC winner, who won a first prize of US$500,000. Canadian company NERv Technology Inc provides an innovative monitoring system for post-operative patients that aims to ensure that no patient loses their life because of an undetected post-operative complication.’



Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 14 November 2019

  • NERv Technology wins US$500,000 in cash, Shenzen Prize to expand in China, and thousands of dollars of in-kind-support.

  • Winner selected from 100,000 entrants from 185 countries, following year-long competition conducted by the Misk Global Forum.

  • The other top five finalists were Koniku Inc. (USA), Red Sea Farms (Saudi Arabia), Sumato-ID (Argentina) and SUN Mobility (India).

The global finals of the 2019 Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) concluded today at the fourth edition of the Misk Global Forum (MGF). The winner was NERv Technology Inc. ( from Canada, an innovative monitoring system for post-operative patients that strives to ensure that no patient loses their life because of an undetected post-operative complication. NERv Tech. received a US$500,000 cash prize, in addition to a number of support and in-kind-opportunities from EWC partners around the world. This included the “Shenzen Prize” to help the company expand in China. 

Speaking after the awards ceremony, Amr Abdelgawad, COO and co-founder of NERv Tech., said: “the experience has been absolutely fantastic. We’ve been around like-minded individuals from hundreds of different countries, speaking different languages, engaging with people from different cultures, but we all have one thing in mind – we’re all persistent and working really hard to make our startups a success. To be the winner today is a testament to everything we’ve been doing, we’ve been working really hard for five years in order to make this dream a reality.” 

The EWC global finals in Riyadh were the culmination of a year-long competition organised by the Misk Global Forum and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), along with a number of regional and strategic partners including Global Silicon Valley Labs (GSV Labs) and the Global Education and Leadership Foundation (tGELF). Over the course of 2019, 102,000 entrants from 187 countries were narrowed down through national and regional finals to 100 startups from 67 countries. 

Arriving in Riyadh last week, the 100 finalists enjoyed a two-day bootcamp at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), to make last-minute adjustments and improvements to their pitches under the eye of expert mentors, and with feedback from each other. Over the two days of the Misk Global Forum, these 100 startups were gradually narrowed down through heats and elimination stages to a final five. Taking to the stage, the finalists were selected by a panel of four international judges, all of them world leaders in business and entrepreneurship, and an audience vote. The final five were:

  • 1 st place: NERv Technology Inc. from Canada
  • 2 nd place: Koniku Inc. from the United States
  • 3 rd place: Red Sea Farms from Saudi Arabia
  • 4 th place: Sumato-ID from Argentina
  • 5 th place: SUN Mobility from India

Abdulrahman Al Suhaymi, who leads the EWC, the flagship entrepreneurship initiative at Misk, said: “Firstly, huge congratulations to our finalists and to NERv Technology. They are truly inspirational. While we called this event the finals, it’s really just part of the longer entrepreneurial journey all startups are on together. There are no losers in the EWC; all the entrants are now part of a truly global network of fellow innovators. They’ve all won the most important things to any startup: global experience, insight into new markets, and potential partners and collaborators. We’re incredibly proud and excited for them all and look forward to seeing what they achieve next.” 

Jonathan Ortmans, President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, said: “Through the Entrepreneurship World Cup, our focus is on making it possible for anyone – anywhere – to start and scale a new company that solves a problem or fills a need. These entrepreneurs, not just the winners but everyone that participated in this competition, have already taken the next step in their journey by trying, learning and competing. Through their startups and through their passion, they will make the world a better place.”

The 2019 Entrepreneurship World Cup was the largest and most diverse global pitch competition of its kind. The next edition of the EWC will launch in 2020, continuing throughout the year to discover and empower new entrepreneurs from across the globe.


Invest Saudi announces strategic sponsorship of Entrepreneurship World Cup Global Finals at 2019 Misk Global Forum

• Invest Saudi will be main sponsor of the Entrepreneurship World Cup global finals and collaborate on future EWC plans.

• Invest Saudi’s sponsorship part of wider partnership between Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and Misk signed in 2018 at the Misk Global Forum.

• Entrepreneurship World Cup global finals will be held at the 2019 Misk Global Forum annual gathering in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 12 – 14 November

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 13 November 2019

Invest Saudi today announced its sponsorship of the 2019 Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) global finals, being held at the Misk Global Forum (MGF) annual gathering in Riyadh from 12 – 14 November.

Invest Saudi will work closely with MGF and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), the international organisers of the EWC, in the workshops and classes offered to the finalists and will also have priority access to potential investments in the winning finalists.

H.E. Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qassabi, the Minister of Commerce and Investment and Chairman of Board of Directors at SAGIA, will be awarding the prizes to the winning finalists.

Dr. Mazin AlZaidi, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Segment Director, representing Invest Saudi, said: “It has never been easier to start a business in Saudi Arabia. In late 2017 SAGIA introduced the Entrepreneurship License that allows foreign start-ups to setup their business in Saudi with 100% ownership. We have licensed more than 200 start-ups in the last 24 months at an average of eight start-ups per month. In addition, just in the last six months more than 45 VCs have joined the VENTURE by Invest Saudi initiative that enables VCs to either bring in their portfolio companies to Saudi or invest in local and foreign start-ups in the Saudi market.”

Dr. AlZaidi continued: “We are delighted to be supporting the Misk Initiative – building on the partnership we established at the Misk Global Forum last year. Innovation is at the core of our vision for the future of the Saudi economy and we look forward to the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most talented entrepreneurs at the Entrepreneurship World Cup.”

Abdulrahman Al Suhaymi, who leads the EWC, the flagship entrepreneurship initiative at Misk, added: “The EWC has offered life-changing opportunities to its entrants from the start, but Invest Saudi’s partnership takes those opportunities to the next level. We’re also looking forward to working with Invest Saudi on the EWC’s 2020 plans.”

The partnership between Invest Saudi and the EWC is part of the wider strategic partnership between the Misk Initiatives Center and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), which oversees the Invest Saudi initiative. The partnership was originally signed at the 2018 MGF annual gathering and has seen SAGIA and MGF collaborate on a range of projects and initiatives around the world, including the Misk Media Forum events in Riyadh and Cairo and Misk’s activations in China and India.  

INVEST SAUDI’s support for the EWC is part of its role in growing the Kingdom’s startup sector and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). With the introduction of the 3-hour Entrepreneurship License, introduced by SAGIA in 2017, and dedicated platforms and initiatives supporting foreign investors resulting in 200 startups being registered in the last 24 months, Invest Saudi is demonstrating that it has never been easier to start a business in Saudi.




Notes to editors:

 About INVEST SAUDI: INVEST SAUDI is the national investment promotion brand and platform, providing insights into the value propositions for targeted investment sectors within the Kingdom. In line with Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to become a leading investment destination through diversifying its economy across different sectors. To learn more, please visit


About the Entrepreneurship World Cup: The EWC is the biggest and most diverse startup pitch competition and support program of its kind, featuring 100,000 entrepreneurs from 170 countries. It offers winners life-changing prizes, including training and resources, networking and connection opportunities, investment, and cash-prizes totalling US$5 million. It also supports all entrants with a virtual incubator, enabling them to refine and hone their pitches throughout the competition. The EWC global finals are taking place at the fourth annual gathering of the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh in November. The EWC has five stages of participation:

  • Education and virtual training
  • National Finals
  • Virtual and direct training sessions in preparation for Global Finals
  • Live training sessions and on-stage competitions
  • Global peer network offering mentorship and support service

About the Misk Global Forum

The Misk Global Forum (MGF) is the flagship international platform of the Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discover, develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the future economy.

Since its launch in 2016, MGF has extended Misk’s mission to young people across the globe. Through international events, research and global initiatives, MGF brings together emerging and established leaders, innovators, and creators to explore, experience and experiment with ways to meet the challenge of change. MGF focuses on three core areas across its activations: skills for the future economy; entrepreneurship and employment; and active global citizenship. Website:  


About the Global Entrepreneurship Network: The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of projects and programs in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business. By fostering deeper cross border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, GEN works to fuel healthier start and scale ecosystems that create more jobs, educate individuals, accelerate innovation and strengthen economic growth.



Shaima Hamidaddin, Executive Manager of the Misk Global Forum

Are entrepreneurs born or made? In some circles, the belief persists being a successful entrepreneur – an Elon Musk or a Jack Ma – requires some ineffable, innate spark of genius. But at Misk we believe that, with the right support, anyone can become an entrepreneur. Through our various entrepreneurship programs and initiatives we’ve been working to prove that.

This week will see the culmination of one of these programs: the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC), organised by the Misk Global Forum (MGF) and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). Ahead of the global finals at the MGF annual gathering (12 – 14 November), we joined 96 EWC startups at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) for an intensive two-day pitching bootcamp. Arriving in palmy, balmy Jeddah from over 60 countries, the participants demonstrated that the skills needed to be an entrepreneur and to pitch an idea can indeed be learned.

Of course, some finalists arrived almost fully formed – concise, confident and compelling. Yet, for others, it was clear that their ideas were not being served by their approach to pitching. Over the course of the bootcamp, these entrepreneurs have transformed (just in time for their chance to win some of EWC’s life-changing prizes). And that’s all thanks to the work done in those two days by our partners: The experts from KAUST’s own startup accelerator program and GEN.

Across broad plenary sessions and small-group mentoring sessions, the entrepreneurs learned how to – as we Saudis put it – cut to al zibdah (the butter) when they pitch and how to take potential investors on an emotional journey as they describe their businesses. But, as Executive Director of GEN Accelerates Dr Susan Amat put it in her welcome address, without forgetting that they were not in a “fake it ‘til you make it space” but a “be real space.”

Amid the mentoring and discussions, one thing particularly stood out: Although the EWC is a competition – and there’s no doubt that every startup is hungry for recognition and all that comes with it – there was no sense of competing interests in the room. Instead, all the participants were eager to share lessons and advice from their own experiences, their successes and their failures. This was – as befits the setting – a truly collegiate experience, with the mentoring sessions particularly instructive. Here, groups of 3 – 5 startups sat with mentors from GEN, running through their pitches. While the entrepreneurs received guidance from their mentor, they also shared advice with each other, eager to see their ostensible competitors do as well as possible.

And maybe that’s because, at heart, there is something innate to all entrepreneurs: A passion for change. Indeed, Hattan Ahmed, head of the entrepreneurship centre at KAUST, alluded to just this in his opening speech, stating that he and the team were “thrilled to work with crazy people – people like you. Driving people to make changes around the world.”

So, while I think that passion is something that can’t be taught, I also believe that passion is something that’s innate to all of us.

Make sure to follow the progress of the EWC Global Final online at: