Dubai hosted the launch today of the world’s first, most global, week-long startup showcase this October. Held in response to the need for an industry hub for investors, incubators, and accelerators to identify the world’s next great startups and support youth empowerment, the new GITEX Global Startup Movement is a comprehensive and dynamic technology platform that will promote global knowledge exchange, foster economic growth and encourage startup investment in the region.
An early adopter of technology, with a 95 per cent household internet penetration, the UAE is a hotbed for technology innovation. The GITEX Global Startup Movement is being held alongside GITEX Technology Week, whose legacy as the most outstanding ICT event in the region makes it uniquely positioned to support and spotlight startups.
Recent leadership initiatives led by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai have put Dubai on the map as a capital for innovation and technology. Efforts to enable rapid deployment of transformative technologies, and become one of the world’s Smartest Cities, such as Dubai Innovation Week, the announcement of the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy’, as well as Dubai Future Accelerators, among many others, have generated worldwide headlines in recent months.
“Dubai and the UAE are world-renowned hubs for Digital Economy innovation as well as the home of a youthful population that is steadfast in its drive to innovate. The GITEX Global Startup Movement will give more than one thousand of the brightest millennial entrepreneurs from the Middle East and around the world a chance to network with peers and gain insight from global technology companies. Young innovators at the GITEX Global Startup Movement will hear success stories that will truly inspire their creativity and in turn positively impact the global community. The GITEX Global Startup Movement offers many of the region’s young founders a once in a lifetime opportunity to present their business concepts to some of the world’s most illustrious investors, some whom have had a significant impact on the success of the likes of Careem, Spotify, Facebook and many more,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of GITEX Technology Week 2016.
With a growing population of digital natives, and access to the world’s emerging technology markets, the UAE is an attractive startup hub. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has made it a priority to support young entrepreneurs, recently approving an action plan and 100-day programme proposed by Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui the UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs. The UAE youth engagement strategy aims to mould an environment in which youth can innovate to benefit the wider community.
Young entrepreneurs and startups have the potential to contribute significantly to employment opportunities for this class of fresh graduates. Digital entrepreneurs are expected to add USD 14 billion to the UAE’s GDP, and USD 1.5 trillion to global GDP by 2020, according to recent reports from the consultancy Accenture.
Additionally, Dubai has been tapped for the upcoming EXPO 2020, which will provide a wealth of new procurement opportunities for the region.
The GITEX Global Startup Movement is furthering this growth by providing unique access for international investors to the region’s emerging startup market, supporting diverse employment opportunities among youth, women in technology and local talent, and developing a culture of entrepreneurship in the region.
New and Award-winning Startups Line Up for GITEX Global Startup Movement
Among the more than 410 startups from nearly 60 countries, more than half are making their global debut at the GITEX Global Startup Movement. The diversity of the GITEX Global Startup Movement – both in terms of its international attendance of and the industry and development of the startups – is a key differentiator for the movement
In a unique demonstration of support for young innovators and the GITEX Global Startup Movement, governments from around the globe are sending delegations of some of their best young innovators to represent their nations at the event. Fourteen government-led startup contingents are attending the GITEX Global Startup movement, hailing from around the world including Russia, Poland, Holland, and the USA with first-time representation from Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Morocco, Oman.
Many innovative startups have already experienced success in the UAE including UAE-born ventures such as car booking service Careem, package delivery app Fetchr, and online shopping platform Souq.com.
“The UAE is the perfect place for technology-based startups to grow. At the GITEX Global Startup Movement, startups can benefit from fundraising from across emerging market investors who are eager for new innovations,” said Mudasir Sheikha, Co-Founder of Careem.
Other innovative startups showcasing at the GITEX Global Startup Movement include Be Happy, Be Healthy from Germany, the energy medicine of the future; Bulbul, which is India’s first travel app for children; and iCare from the UAE, which is the world’s first blood bank mobile app; and JustPrice.pk, Pakistan’s fastest-growing mobile retail platform.
Unique Opportunities to Invest, Sell, and Learn
The GITEX Global Startup Movement’s success lies in the potential for collaboration across attendees. The event aims to connect startups to investors – particularly the ambitious and prosperous Middle East investors, conglomerates, and family businesses. With tours, talks, and intimate clinics, investors can get in on the ground floor of never-before-seen innovations, and source from an international collective of talent.
Elsewhere, exhibiting startups are showing down in a dramatic pitch competition – the GITEX ‘Strut-Up’ judged by investors and startup successes such as Keith Kaplan from the Tesla Foundation. The ‘Strut-Up’ will send startup hopefuls home with a total of USD 160,000, with prizes for Best Arab-Led Startup, Best Youth Startup, Best Woman-Led Startup, and Best GITEX Startup.
Startups with technology that improve business and productivity, education, finance and marketing are only some of the many popular sectors represented by startups at the GITEX Global Startup Movement. Startups looking to improve manufacturing, energy, consumer technology, logistics, healthcare, retail, cybersecurity and tourism will also showcase their ground-breaking innovations.
“The UAE is one of the world’s most attractive startup destinations, thanks to strong government support, a culture of innovation, and a highly-educated population. At GITEX Global Startup Movement, investors can get in on the ground floor and invest early in the most innovative ideas, and help to catalyse the broader Digital Economy,” said Jeffrey Paine, Managing Partner of the Singapore-based early stage investment fund Golden Gate Ventures in Singapore, who will be a featured speaker at the GITEX Global Startup Movement.
With the movement’s bespoke matching service, angel investment groups such as 500 Startups from the US, Singapore’s Jungle Ventures Group, India’s GP Infinity Ventures, Lebanon’s Middle East Venture Partners, and the UAE’s own BECO Capital and Standard Chartered Private Equity will leverage unique networking opportunities to hear startup business plans from around the world.
“The time to invest in startups is now,” said Dany Farha, CEO of BECO Capital, an investment house from the UAE that will attend the GITEX Global Startup Movement. “Those of us who have witnessed this region’s entrepreneurs grow and succeed know that Dubai is the crossroads where raw talent and essential support meet to mould innovation.”
Knowledge Exchange Platform
Troy Carter, former manager to global pop sensation Lady Gaga, and Global Head of Creative Services for digital music service Spotify, is among the many startup legendaries who are set to be headline speakers at the GITEX Global Startup Movement’s Out Talk Conference, which will host both successful inspiring entrepreneurs and global household names. Carter, as well as a stellar line up of speakers at GITEX Global Startup Movement, are sharing lessons learned on their rise to success.
“Dubai is setting world records and has invested a significant amount of resources in entrepreneurs and innovation. I’m looking forward to speaking at GITEX and finding the next ground breaking ideas,” said Troy Carter.
Complementing the GITEX Global Startup Movement is the GITEX Vertical Days, a unique platform with world-class speakers across the industry verticals that have the biggest digital transformation opportunity. GITEX Technology Week’s Vertical Days Programme includes Marketing and Healthcare Monday, Finance and Intelligent Cities Tuesday, Retail and Education Wednesday and Energy Thursday. The Immersive Tech section will feature the latest innovations in augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, drones, robotics, and 3D printing.
GITEX Technology Week is one of the world’s leading platforms for technology information exchange with 230 exceptional speakers, 65 industry-tailored sessions and a total of 130 conference hours throughout the week.
The GITEX Global Startup Movement, and GITEX Technology Week, which will be held under the theme of “Reimagining Realities”, run from 16-20 October 2016 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Visit www.gitex.com for more information.