Eastern Europe’s Tech Players Discover Dubai as Gateway to New Markets
As Poland powers the next stage of its diversified economic growth, Dubai and GITEX Technology Week offer tech companies a gateway to new and emerging markets.
Technology intensive industries, although currently only a small part of Poland’s economy, have grown at 7-10 per cent since 2004, outpacing the overall economy, according to a recent report by consultancy McKinsey Insights. From 2006 and 2013, Polish exports to emerging markets grew at 15 per cent annually, reaching 155 billion Euros in 2013.
“For future economic growth and a rising Gross National Happiness index, Poland needs to drive investment in technology-intensive industries, high-tech clusters, and research and development. Dubai presents an excellent opportunity for Polish tech companies to deepen their relationships with emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa, expanding exports and attracting new capital investment,” said Anna Hejka, founder of Heyka Capital Markets Group and managing partner of its VC and seed investment funds, Poland Growth Fund III and Unicorn Nest, whose mission is to commercialise Polish inventions on a global scale.
Anna Hejka will be a key speaker at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, one of the world’s most influential technology events, set to host more than 4,000 exhibiting companies, 64 participating countries, 230 speakers, and more than 400 startups from over 60 countries.
Dubai – Innovation Hub and Global Gateway
The UAE is one of Poland’s most important trading partners. Trade has tripled since 2010 to USD 1 billion in 2015, according to the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the UAE.
“Poland’s tech sector is ideally positioned for global expansion, thanks to innovative ideas, strong education and English-speaking entrepreneurs, and government support. Bringing ambitious businesses from Poland’s tech sector to GITEX provides them with an unrivalled opportunity to find opportunities in a collection of important emerging markets,” said Dr Sebastian Stepnicki, Counsellor at the Embassy of Poland to the UAE.
Helping to achieve these goals, the Embassy will host 29 Polish startups across fields such as biomedicine and healthcare, cloud storage, education, retail, and virtual reality gaming.
In healthcare, MyWhizzy is the world’s first electronic stethoscope and thermometer with intelligent sound analysis; Saule Technologies is one of the world’s first companies to make perovskite mineral photovoltaic cells that can charge smartphones; and SiDLY is delivering telemedicine across Europe. Additional startups include Migram, a Polish sign language translation service, and Nanosanguis, which is developing safe red blood cell substitutes.
Polish startups are well-positioned to expand to emerging markets around the world.
The Polish government recently launched Start-In Poland to invest USD 800 million in 1,500 startups over the next seven years. Nearly half, 49 per cent, of Polish startups are developing global innovations, and 54 per cent export outside Poland. However, at least half say they need funds and contacts to expand, according to a report by trade group Startup Poland.
“Investors need to foster the next generation of Polish startups. Emerging technology offers the greatest potential for that, particularly if we can identify and nurture ‘unicorns’ – those businesses that can achieve a market value of a billion US dollars or more,” added Anna Hejka.
At the GITEX Global Startup Movement, global startups will arrange meetings with global investors and venture capitalists to validate business plans, enter a startup pitch competition to win USD 160,000, and network with technology insiders for industry trends and insights.
The focus on startups sits alongside GITEX’s showcases for emerging tech including augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, drones, robotics, and 3D printing.
“New ideas, emerging technology and start-up entrepreneurs, are the lifeblood of disruption. We already attract the major tech companies, but are also assembling the most global event for innovators. For a Polish entrepreneur to find funding and business opportunities in Africa or Asia, that can happen only in Dubai,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President, for Exhibitions and Events Management at Dubai World Trade Centre, which hosts GITEX.