From San Francisco and the Netherlands, to Cyprus and Estonia, Startup Without Borders's unique feature for this year's summit aims to expand the horizon's of entrepreneurs everywhere.
As we edge closer to this year’s edition of the annual Startup Without Borders Summit on November 14th, it’s becoming clearer by the day that founder, Valentina Primo, and her team are fully embracing the hybrid approach that has been enforced on them in the wake of the pandemic.
We’ve seen a number of entrepreneurial events and summits go online during this most difficult of years and a handful have fused the virtual with the on-ground. SWB sits in the latter camp, but rather than treating this ‘new normal’ (a running theme at the summit this years) as making the best of a bad situation, Primo and co have used it to elevate what is shaping to be a truly unique event, one what will be beamed across the world from three different stages in Amsterdam, Cairo and San Francisco.
No feature of the summit demonstrates this more than the virtual ‘Startup Country Tours’, which will guide (virtual) attendees through four of the most prolific ecosystems on the planet through a series of workshops that aims to draw entrepreneurs into what SWB is calling ‘borderless experience’, led by experts in the respective ecosystems. The first two should come as no surprise: San Francisco and the Netherlands. It’s the other two that have piqued interest, however: Estonia and Cyprus. The two nations aren’t the first names that one might refer to when talking about advanced, fruitful entrepreneurial ecosystems, but both are quickly emerging some of the places to be for young entrepreneurs.
The tours will see some of the most influential CEOs, strategists and industry giants from each location offer attendees first-hand insight on the ecosystems, with a view to encouraging entrepreneurs and startups to, quite literally, expand their horizons.
Some of the highlights include Anett Numa, Digital Transformation Adviser at the e-Estonia Briefing Centre, who will take us on a guide of how to become e-citizens and launch/expand a startup in Estonia. For the Cyprus leg of the tours, Karim Samra – founder of Changelabs, which operates out of the island – will be presenting the impact-centred accelerator’s unique new startup registration package for Cyprus.
It all feeds into SWB's ultimate goal of breaking down barriers and providing more opportunities for all, particularly for migrant entrepreneurs, something that Andreas Ruepp, Head of Project Access to Financial Services for SMEs at GIZ Egypt encaplsulates in his reasoning for GIZ being a partner.
"We believe promoting access-to-finance for aspiring entrepreneurs can address several issues facing refugees and migrants in Egypt. Through a holistic approach we aim to significantly increase financial inclusion especially during the current pandemic and the unprecedented times we live in. We are happy to partner up with SWB on their great mission, and we hope this will contribute to the creation of better social and economic prospects for the Egyptian people in line with the Egyptian Government’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030.”
It’s another unique element of what is shaping up to be a huge day, one that is set to welcome a whole host of powerhouse speakers, including Ramez T. Shehadi, Managing Director of Facebook MENA; Lauren Maillian, CEO ofdigitalundivided; Christie Pitts, General Partner at Backstage Capital; Anja Monrad, Senior VP and GM of Dell Technologies; Roberto Croci, Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups MEA; Tey El-Rjula; and blockchain entrepreneur and author of The Invisible Son.
One of the biggest speakers to take to the stage will be Selina Bieber, Senior Regional Director for Turkey, MENA and South Africa at GoDaddy, an ardent supporter of entrepreneurs and small business owners.
“The Startups Without Borders Summit recognises that the way we live, work and shop has changed exponentially in 2020, paving the way for rapid digital growth and highlighting the importance of having a digital footprint for all businesses, large and small," Bieber said following her addition to an already impressive line-up. "We are excited to be participating in this Summit, as GoDaddy supports small business owners and entrepreneurs around the world to launch, build and grow their online brand presence, with easy to use and affordable tools and solutions."
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