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GITEX Future Stars shines for MENA start-ups

The MENA region's start-up ecosystem estimated to be worth close to $1bn

Sean O'Sullivan
Sean O'Sullivan

The Middle East's thriving start-up scene will come together once again for GITEX Future Stars, which takes place alongside of GITEX Technology Week.

The region's largest start-up conference is expected to host over 700 entrepreneurs and innovators from across 75 countries to showcase ground-breaking ideas, and to engage with over 250 of the world's most influential investors and venture capitalists.

With the MENA region's start-up ecosystem estimated to be worth close to $1bn, GITEX Future Stars will create a timely showcase for startups across sectors including AR, VR, gaming, education, fintech, healthcare, IoT, Robotics, Smart Cities, Transport and Logistics, and Travel & Tourism.

The GITEX Future Stars conference will feature three themed tracks, on capital funding, tech start-ups and creative disruptors, and includes an exciting line up of local and international speakers.

The line up for the conference includes New York-based entrepreneur, musician and technologist, Benji Rogers, who pioneered the direct artist-to-fan distribution model through Pledge Music and Dot Blockchain Music Project; serial entrepreneur Bay McLaughlin, co-founder of Brinc, a global IoT accelerator and platform based in Hong Kong; and Patrick Grove, co-founder and group CEO of Catcha Group/co-founder and Chairman of iflix, one of the fastest-growing and leading SVoD for emerging markets.

GITEX Future Stars will also provide a platform for networking, and for regional startups to access global expertise, with attendees set to include renowned Silicon Valley investors like Sean O'Sullivan, Founder of SOSV Venturesp; Sarah Cone, Founder of Social Impact Capital; and Sunny Dhillon, founder of Signia Ventures Capital.

Sean O'Sullivan said: "GITEX Future Stars is a key event for tapping into the pulse of innovation and entrepreneurship in the dynamic Middle East. As one of the top two or three most active seed investors in the world, SOSV is constantly benchmarking the very best start-ups from all over the planet. The event offers a fantastic opportunity to meet with hundreds of young entrepreneurs, network with other investors, exchange best practice and insights with thought-leaders and prospective partners, all of which is crucial to help develop and expand vibrant start-up ecosystems and help our start-ups go further, faster."

In a regional first, GITEX Future Stars will also feature a dedicated corporate buyers program in partnership entrepreneurship platform Wamda. The progam is intended to drive effective collaboration between start-ups and large corporate institutions, and to explore how start-ups can help companies solve significant business challenges with the goal of winning a partnership with a major tech company.

GITEX Future Stars will also feature a series of targeted competitions offering a total value of over AED one million in prizes for start-ups, from pitch competitions offering $180,000 in prize money; to dedicated competitions run in partnership with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Visa, Alibaba and NAMA, aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation across key innovation sectors; the event extends a host of winning opportunities.

"The world's most future-forward city, Dubai is rocketing up the innovation charts and gaining world-wide attention for implementing next generation technology to drive socio-economic development, enhance economic diversification and boost happiness and satisfaction for the wider community. GITEX Future Stars is ground zero for innovation, cross-border knowledge transfer and learning; Dubai has long been the epicentre of business in the region, and we invite the world to be inspired by a buzzing community of techpreneurs ready to turn challenges into opportunities and dreams into reality," said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions and Events Management, DWTC.