By Tamara Pupic
Gitex 2016 to promote, support and develop digital start-ups and help consolidate the start-up ecosystem in the MENA region.
More than 1,000 entrepreneurs will get a chance to present their ideas to more than 146,000 investors and 22,000 C-suite executives from around the world during the 36th edition of Gitex Technology Week.
Gitex Start-up Movement, an exclusive presentation of the world’s most innovative start-ups, is expected to be the centrepiece of this year’s event, which will be held at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 16 to 20 October 2016.
The event’s latest addition, Gitex Start-up Movement, will showcase Internet of Things (IoT) applications, next-gen technologies and digital marketing solutions that are expected to revolutionise the global economy by 2025.
Participants will also be able to pitch for prizes, attend an interactive conference to address challenges faced by entrepreneurs and meet leading industry figures.
Amjad Shacker, corporate communication general manager at Saudi Telecom Company (STC), expects the event to help consolidate the start-up ecosystem in the MENA region. “The need for local and regional start-up ecosystem consolidation, learning from global best practices, and exposure to global investment network, is imminently evident,” he says. “STC considers Gitex Startup Movement addressing this need; it will help regional players to learn and mature as well as expose them to the global buyers and investors.”
Keith Kaplan, CEO at Tesla Foundation, a science and technology foundation focused on robotics and automation, says the event will enable the foundation to expand its network by connecting with innovators, entrepreneurs, and companies it might include in its Tesla STEM Farm System.
“The foundation is focused on building the bridge between private and public organisations to create new technologies and companies and the MENA region presents a unique opportunity,” Kaplan says. “We have been graced with the strength of government support and the burgeoning entrepreneur scene that is in the region.”
The Middle East, a region of early adopters of emerging and next-gen technologies, is poised to benefit from the global industrial shift. The region is already projected to spend around $60 billion on 3D printing, robotics, drones, digital marketing and smart living/wearables by 2020.
The public sector in the UAE has already facilitated the creation of a conducive environment for entrepreneurship through The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund To Finance Innovation, a AED 2 billion fund launched last year. As part of the country’s National Innovation Strategy, it aims to accelerate the start-up movement towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy.
Gitex Technology Week will feature dedicated zones to showcase exhibitors and live demonstrations of emerging solutions in the following areas: 3D printing, robotics, drones, digital marketing, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) and smart living. In addition, the event’s Industry Vertical Days will streamline the visitor experience looking for specialist knowledge.
The event is expected to attract more than 3,500 exhibitors from 55 countries.