In an exciting three-day sprint, the first Oxagon Hackathon – in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia – comes to an end with many promising ideas for a brighter future. Watch the excitement and discover the winning solutions that will see three teams become a part of the Oxagon Accelerator.




If you’re a team of inventors looking to use your talent to solve some of the big challenges related to technology in the service of people, water Innovation, green hydrogen or e-fuels then sign up now and show your critical-thinking skills.


  • Males and females
  • Teams of two to six, aged 18-65
  • Saudi-based with a Saudi national as team leader
  • Programmers, developers, designers, students, academics, founders, marketers, entrepreneurs
  • Critical thinkers with big ideas



  • Oxagon Water Icon


    Water innovation to develop sustainable solutions addressing scarcity challenges - from advanced desalination and brine management to water recycling and smart water technologies.

  • Oxagon Technology Icon


    Develop technology in the service of people, that respects individual choice and enhances life through personalized, predictive and autonomous services intuitively integrated into the environment.

  • Oxagon E-fuels Icon


    Explore technologies that leverage e-fuel solutions to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport and heating market – all the way to climate neutrality, with the goal to be fully powered by 1OO% clean energy.

  • Oxagon E-fuels Icon


    Hydrogen will play a key role in the renewable energy transition, decarbonizing end uses. New clean technologies to use green hydrogen will be the biggest driver for the future of global decarbonization.


  • Advanced sensing & internet of things

    Advanced sensing & internet of things

  • Robotics, automated guided vehicles & drones

    Robotics, automated guided vehicles & drones

  • Big data analytics & artificial intelligence

    Big data analytics & artificial intelligence

  • Material science & nanotechnology

    Material science & nanotechnology


    You will have the opportunity to share your ideas with the world. Collaborating with the brightest minds at Oxagon and NEOM, you will help develop solutions to the biggest global challenges.
    You will work with industry experts at NEOM, the world biggest project. This is a unique opportunity to change the game and do what has never been done before. The only limit is your imagination.
    Enhance your skills and knowledge in an inclusive space. You'll be working in a diverse and progressive environment full of talented people. This is a place where ideas, individuals and teams grow together.


Benefits for Hackathon participants



  • Concise Problem Icon
    A clearly defined problem
  • Commercial Icon
    Identification of a market and commercial viability
  • Creative Solution Icon
    A creative solution, quality design and working prototype
  • Target Audience Icon
    A customer segment and target audience
  • Business Model Icon
    A business model and go-to-market strategy
oxagon hackathon


Meet the experts you will work with

  • Lisa Norcross, former Industrial Innovation Director, Oxagon

    Lisa Norcross

    Industrial Innovation Director

    Lisa Norcross has 26 years of experience in operations, leadership and transformation across Europe, the US and Asia. She previously worked for E.ON, McKinsey and Ford. She is establishing a research and innovation campus for developing industrial businesses at Oxagon – from labs through to market.

  • Benjamin Queisser, former Head of Business Development - Innovation, Oxagon

    Benjamin Queisser

    Head of Business Development – Innovation

    An entrepreneur and self-starter, Benjamin Queisser has a wealth of international management and leadership experience across various industries. His expertise is heavily focused on building collaborative ecosystems to enable sustainable growth and innovation.

  • Emon Shakoor, Blossom Accelerator CEO and Founder

    Emon Shakoor

    Blossom Accelerator CEO & founder

    Emon Shakoor is a Saudi neuroscience researcher turned tech entrepreneur, and also a TEDx speaker. As founder of Blossom – Saudi Arabia’s first inclusive and female focused tech company accelerator – she helps start-ups to network and gain access to resources, community and investment opportunities.

  • Iurii Nazarkin, Head of Operations, Innovation, Oxagon

    Iurii Nazarkin

    Head of Operations – Innovation

    Now developing Oxagon's research and innovation campus services, technologies and start-up accelerators, Iurii Nazarkin previously worked as operational excellence vice-president for E.ON and major consulting firms in Europe – across the energy, manufacturing, construction and mining sectors.

  • Dr. Yusif A. Alghamdi, Research Innovation Specialist - DRI, Ministry of Education

    Dr. Yusif A. Alghamdi

    Research Initiatives Specialist, DRI, Ministry of Education

    A scientist in chemical engineering, energy and renewable energy, formerly a researcher at King Saud University, and a consultant at King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy. Now, he’s specialised on developing MOE’s initiatives & strategies for research and innovation in Saudi universities.

  • Prof. Hani Choudhry, Assistant  Deputy Minister for Research and Innovation - MOE

    Prof. Hani Choudhry

    Assistant Deputy Minister for Research and Innovation, MOE

    Professor of Genomics with over 10 years’ experiences in R&D management. He is leading research, development and innovation strategy and funding initiatives of the Saudi universities at the MOE.

  • Dr. Fatema Almughlliq, Project Management Specialist

    Dr. Fatema Almughlliq

    Project Management Specialist

    Fatema is a doctor in biotechnology who previously worked on collaborative research between university and the industry. Now she is specialised on managing projects at the MOE to support Saudi universities’ research and innovation to reach sustainable research ecosystem.

Our Partners


  • It is a three-day challenge, in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education and powered by the local accelerator Blossom. The Hackathon will revolve around four industries, mirroring some of NEOM’s industrial ambitions. These are: technology in the service of people; water innovation and sustainable solutions to address water scarcity challenges; renewable energy solutions, leveraging the country’s commitment to explore clean energy alternatives such green hydrogen and e-fuels.

    • To foster open inclusivity and innovation across Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning start-up community, turning great ideas into viable businesses.
    • To establish a unique platform, where homegrown talent can pioneer cross-sector innovation – supporting NEOM’s ambition to tackle global challenges.
    • To build a vibrant ecosystem, where ideas are accelerated from labs to market.
      To establish a dedicated home for young talents, researchers and creative thinkers to collaborate in a real-life testing environment.
    • Entrepreneurs/ students/ academics/ founders/ programmers/ designers/ developers/ marketers/ leaders/ creatives
    • Men and women
    • Those aged 18 to 65 years
    • A diverse team with at least one Saudi national as team leader or co-founder; or a company that is headquartered out of Saudi Arabia; or a company that is recognized as a Saudi company by MISA
    • Critical thinkers with big ideas
  • We recommend forming teams before the event and encourage fully-fledged start-ups serious about scaling their business to apply. There is the option of applying as an individual with an idea or a solo founder. At the hackathon, you can partner with colleagues and peers that you meet to form a complete team. Teams should be composed of at least two to six members.

  • Team sizes are two to six people. We recommend that each member brings different skills to the table (i.e. software development, engineering, finance, design, research, energy expertise). Teams will be well place if they have at least one developer, one subject matter expert and one creative person. Other than diversity of skillsets, we will also assess the diversity of your team – in terms of background, gender and neurodiversity. There are specific questions in the application that you are required to fill out in order to be assessed for admission to the hackathon.

  • The sky is the limit. Focus on the four challenges outlined and use the deep tech identified. Three days go by quickly, so perfection is never a requirement. It’s best if the product is applicable, user-friendly and scalable. Focus on pitching an idea that is feasible and viable.

  • You may work on and refine multiple ideas. However, only one final submission per team is allowed.

  • Yes, but only up until day one of the hackathon when the final teams are determined and defined. You may not add members or change teams after the first day of the hackathon.

  • We will be in touch regarding your qualification to the hackathon between September 25 and September 30, 2022.

  • Yes, you can apply to both programs. Applying to the hackathon as a precursor will increase your chances of getting into the accelerator program, as the Oxagon team will have the chance to get to know you and your start-up better. The top three winning teams from the hackathon will be granted seats in the first Oxagon Accelerator.

  • We do not guarantee direct funding, although the top three winning teams in the hackathon will be offered automatic admission to our Oxagon Accelerator.

    Through the accelerator, we introduce our start-ups to top-notch venture capitalists and angel investors in the Middle East and North Africa ecosystem and we help increase the chances of getting investment. If the start-up is the right fit, there also will be funding opportunities as well.

  • Absolutely. We encourage participating teams and individuals from as diverse backgrounds as possible, for we welcome unique perspectives. If the sectors sound interesting to you, we encourage you to apply.

  • We would recommend having at least one technical person on the team, but this is not a requirement. If you are applying to the hackathon as an individual, you can find other technical team members at the hackathon itself and form a team with them on the first day.

  • No, if you can’t code, you can bring your knowledge from other areas such as business, graphic design, finance and so on. Additionally, this is a great opportunity for founders, who are not technical, to boost their capabilities and start creating wireframes and prototypes using different software and tools. Also, you can always onboard a team member or co-founder, who is technical – allowing you to build a diverse and capable team.

  • We accept ideas and start-ups in these four main sectors:

    • Technology in the service of people: general purpose robotics and platforms security, advanced augmented reality, big data analysis and artificial intelligence.
    • Water innovation: advanced desalination and brine management, water recycling and smart water reuse technologies.
    • E-fuels: Renewable energy sources, e-fuel futuristic solutions development, 100% clean energy.
    • Green hydrogen: Solar and wind energy generation, green hydrogen production, 100% clean energy.
  • To win, you should demonstrate all or most of the following:

    • Clear problem
    • Proposed solution that is unique
    • Target customers
    • Feasible business model
    • Market entry plan
    • Market size
    • Competitive advantage
    • Working prototype, sign of traction or early validation
    • Diverse, versatile and committed team
    • Presentation of a solution within the four sectors, using the deep tech capabilities outlined
  • Oxagon does not sign NDAs with participants, teams, or start-ups. By participating in the hackathon, you are consenting to openly share your project idea and relevant information related to it with other participants, the organizing team, mentors, partners and investors – and to share your idea publicly. Oxagon and the organizing team hold no responsibility for idea theft. Our policy is that we encourage participants to actually share as much as possible. We believe the idea is only 1%, while 99% of the success will come from the team’s ability to execute.

  • While we have some sessions that are bilingual, in Arabic or English, and an array of local and international speakers – the main language of instruction will be in English. This program is ideal for candidates that are bilingual, in English and Arabic. Please note, the whole start-up team does not need to speak English fluently. As long as one team member or co-founder can, this should be sufficient.

  • No. You must be able to travel to Riyadh to participate in person and if you are a team, you must have at least two people from your team participate in person.

    • Access to a world class network of international founders and investors, in the MENA and Saudi start-up ecosystem.
    • Opportunity for funding or investment. While we do not guarantee investment, we can increase your odds of securing funding.
    • Expert insights on building start-ups, leveraging digital sustainable tools to create clean products and build thriving business.
  • If you do not win the hackathon, you will still gain a massive amount of information, build a network and access a plethora of resources from just having participated. The event is designed to be one of the most competitive hackathons in the region and is a highly selective and intensive event that is jam packed with added value. You can also still meet Oxagon’s team and explore how to accelerate your idea from lab to market, even if you don’t secure a seat on the accelerator program.

  • Your start-up should own their own IP. By getting accepted into the hackathon, Oxagon or NEOM will not own any part of your company. This is an equity-free program. And there are no admission fees either.

  • Potentially. This is something that the start-up and the Oxagon team can discuss and look into further, if there is interest from each party.


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