Mini Exchange to represent GCC in Silicon Valley

Dubai-based entrepreneur Sarah Appleton to attend a start-up programme in Palo Alto.

Mini Exchange, the award-winning online marketplace for kids' fashion, has been named as the GCC-based start-up selected for the 10th edition of the US-hosted Blackbox Connect programme.

Along with fifteen other start-up founders based outside the US, Sarah Appleton, British entrepreneur and the founder of Mini Exchange, will attend the immersion programme powered by Google for Entrepreneurs from 9-20 February in Palo Alto.

Speaking about the programme, Mary Grove, director of Google for Entrepreneurs, said: “We believe in Blackbox Connect's vision of building a global community of entrepreneurs who come together in Silicon Valley for an immersive two weeks — and then return to their home countries inspired to continue being leaders in their start-up communities.”

Blackbox is a committed to empowering women entrepreneurs by increasing the representation of female founders in start-up communities while its two-week-long immersion programme, Blackbox Connect, offers them the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded founders from around the world.

All the start-ups are members of the Google for Entrepreneurs’ global partner network of start-up communities which includes the Dubai-based Astrolabs, a DMCC member and the only Google-partnered hub in the Middle East.

The 10th Edition of Blackbox Connect will conclude with the Startup Showcase on 20 February when the founders will pitch their products to venture capitalists, industry leading corporate innovation officers, and business development professionals.

With a background in corporate finance, Appleton moved to Dubai to work for Deloitte but decided to launch internet business Mini Exchange at the start of 2014.

In September 2014, Appleton was one of the fifteen of the Middle East’s finest executives who were honoured at the CEO Awards held at Emirates Towers in Dubai.

She was handed the Small Business CEO of the Year in recognition of Mini Exchange’s rapid growth throughout 2014.

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