Held each year by the IE School of Architecture and Design, Venture Day provides start-ups a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Part of the IE accelerator program Venture Lab, the high-pressure competition gives participants just five minutes to give concise, impactful presentations. This pitch is followed by a Q&A session, after which the winners are selected by a jury.
Master in Business for Architecture and Design student Dana Nayef Alfayez distinguished herself by becoming the first female architect to reach the final, pitching her project, NOMAD, against over 60 other startups. NOMAD provides virtual brands and businesses with a short-term presence in the offline market while helping empty retail spaces generate extra income - a win-win situation where both stakeholders benefit.
After starting in Jordan, the company has quickly expanded into Madrid, with plans to move into other European cities soon. NOMAD has the potential to disrupt a commercial real-estate sector that is, according to Dana, failing to adapt to modern needs. The flexible access and easy booking of these commercial spaces will allow businesses to create a successful presence in the market.
“NOMAD’s mission is bigger than filling up these empty spaces. It’s about creating this network of vibrant spaces to share people’s dreams,” explains Dana. The startup is still in the early stages of collecting data, negotiating with landlords and pitching the venture to the general public, but Dana and her team have great plans for the future. Eventually, she hopes “to become the Airbnb of retail in the Middle East.”
Dana notes the impact IE University has had on her and her business. “IE not only influenced me to solve our economic and social issues, but showed me how to transform them into opportunities and, more importantly, as responsibilities and take action. IE has provided me with the right network and an amazing environment that will help me advance further in my career.”
The Venture Day competition is a celebration of entrepreneurship, showcasing the outstanding talent and creativity of students in the Venture Lab. The lab and its competitions are part of IE University School of Architecture and Design’s greater goal of fostering an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship through hands-on learning.
Further information about the Master in Business for Architecture and Design is available at the IE University website.