From Seedstars startup pitches across 3 different Arab countries to the massive Gitex Tech Week taking over Dubai and the pioneering FinTech Summit in Abu Dhabi, these entrepreneurial events are shaping up quite a hot fall for Middle Eastern startups.
The end of summer marks the beginning of a brand new, hustling fall season. While Egypt will bring up the rear in December with the country's biggest entrepreneurial conference, RiseUp - an annual meeting now celebrating its 5th edition since its inception - there won't be need to wait until the first cold to take advantage of unmatchable opportunities across the region. From Alexandria's Techne Summit's 2nd edition to FinTech and urban innovation meetups across the UAE, the next months promise to be rich of opportunities for Arab youth wanting to disrupt the tech scene. We've gathered seven of the region's must-see events to boost your startup game.
1. Seedstars across Alexandria, Dubai, and Kuwait, September-November 2017
With its goal of shedding more light on entrepreneurship in emerging markets, Seedstars World, the Swiss-based seed-stage startup competition, is traveling to more than 80 countries this year, and the tour will include Arab startup meccas such as Beirut, Dubai and Kuwait. One winner of the competition will also get the chance to fly to Switzerland to the annual summit, and compete for a $1 million investment in equities and network with global investors (last year, two of the winners hailed from the Arab world). Startups having launched within the last two years, receiving external funding of less than $500,000, have a Minimum Viable Product and the potential to reach scalability, will have the opportunity to pitch in front of an investment panel and compete for the final prize. Check the event's details here.
2. Arabnet Kuwait, Kuwait, 17 October
Regional summit ArabNet is coming back for a two-day conference in Kuwait. This engaging summit will mainly focus on the GCC market through workshops and networking sessions, including a full-day of panels covering digital media and advertising, digital commerce, innovation and investment. Case studies and other sessions will enrich the summit, whose keynote speakers will include Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Alley; Benjamin Ampen, Head of Revenue - MENA at Twitter; and Matthew Gardinar, founder of Catch London, among others. Check out this link to learn more.
4. Gitex Future Stars, Dubai, 8 10 October
GITEX is the largest MENA commercial sales platform for startups; its Future Stars event, taking place in Dubai this October, is specifically tailored for for game-changers hoping to have a higher impact in the tech entrepreneurship field. Running at the same time as the Gitex Tech Week, Future Stars panelists will include Benju Rogers, Founder of Pledge Music and CEO of dotblockchainmedia, and IFLIX's co-founder and Chairman Patrick Grove. The event will also host three startup pitch competitions, where over 100 startups will battle it out to take home the $180,000 prize. The event is set to be an exciting global opportunity, with speakers and attendees coming from around the globe, from Japan to Italy and the Arab region, and Dubai's first-ever Tourism startup competition. Check the event here.
5. Techne Summit, Egypt, 30 September-October 1st
After massive success in 2016, Techne Summit is back again this 2017, bringing together once more the most renowned players in the tech industry, including Cisco, Intel, Google and World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. The two-day summit will have the same theme of tech, innovation and talent as its previous edition, and will act as a platform for these international global players to share their lessons and advice, as well as sharing knowledge on opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. “Building on Techne, we realised that there are a lot of cities in Egypt that need to know about entrepreneurship, to understand what a startup means and if, they are ready, to let them access the resources they need,” Tarek El Kady, founder of the conference, explained earlier this month. “We got all the speakers, we got all mentors, we put a strong programs to highlight the word entrepreneurship and to identify the startups that are already existing see what are the challenges and what are the resources that they have.” Have a look at the event here to learn more about this major tech conference.
6. Fintech startup event Abu Dhabi, 22-23 October
This intense summit that focuses on innovation and mentorship will bring together global and local financial institutions, FinTech startups, investors, regulatory agencies and the business community for an intense two-day program aiming at making participants network, collaborate and exchange FinTech know-how and news on recent developments in Abu Dhabi, the wider MENA region and internationally. Among the speakers there will be Wamda Capital chairman Fadi Ghandour, Saeed Amidi, founder of Plug and Play, Souqalmal founder Ambareen Musa, and Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance. The conference will also be centrestage for the FinTech Innovation Challenge, whose 11 finalists have just been announced. Check here to learn how to participate.
7. Arab Future Cities, Dubai, 22-23 October
This event, which will serve as a teaser for the 2020 Expo, will focus on future opportunities and evolving technologies aimed at achieving Abu Dhabi’s ambition to become one of the world’s most connected and sustainable Smart Cities. Speakers will include experts in the urbanism field, such as the UAE Ministry of Infrastructure and Masdar's chief director, and international urban planning officers. Check the event here.
8. World Green Economy Summit, Dubai, 24-25 October
The World Green Economy Summit will bring policy makers and stakeholders together, in order to create a fertile environment to boost a sustainable green growth and address current and future needs. The summit's panelists will include H.E. Aziz Rabbah, Minster of Energy; H.E. Reem Bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minster of State for International Cooperation; Darrin Morgan, Director of Boeing; and Axel Threlfall, Editor-at-large of Reuters. The topics that will be tackled during the talks will focus on the next generation of clean energy solutions, the emergence of innovative financing solutions for green initiatives, and methods for developing a sustainable, green lifestyle. Here's the link to check out the event.
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