Expand Summit to attract venture capitalists for financing startups

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy.
Omar Sultan Al Olama, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy.

Dubai - There are 90 investment funds in the digital sector and 12 business incubators and the total value of startups in the country is estimated to be Dh90 billion.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 28 Jul 2021, 3:25 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Jul 2021, 3:27 PM

Dubai Chamber for Digital Economy, one of the three chambers under the newly formed Dubai Chambers umbrella, will be hosting Expand Summit, the first-of-its-kind summit in the region in January 2022 to attract Venture Capitalists (VCs) for financing start-ups.

The Summit will witness the largest gathering of VCs and start-ups in the region, with 500 VCs and 1000 tech start-ups expected to participate over the two-day programme which will include events, seminars, presentations, demos, pitches and meetings.

It will host some of the most prestigious and well-known venture capital firms and leaders around the world with the aim to build a network of dedicated international and local relationships with entrepreneurs, technology companies and specialised funding agencies, in order to help start-ups and entrepreneurs transform their creative ideas.

The Summit will be held during Expo 2020 Dubai, and will be organised in coordination with Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai World Trade Center, Dubai Future Foundation, and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and is expected to witness a wide participation that reflects the regional and global interest in investing in Dubai in the field of the digital economy.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy said: “The Summit will serve as a catalyst to help Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy achieve its goal of accelerating the growth of Dubai’s digital economy and doubling the number of digital companies operating in the emirate in the coming years.”

He further remarked, “This Summit will be an ideal platform to engage start-ups and investors in a dialogue which will be beneficial for the growth of Dubai’s digital economy.”

Al Olama also pointed out that it is imperative to intensify their efforts to provide a fertile and suitable environment for the growth of emerging companies in order to build a competitive economy based on innovation, knowledge and digital transformation

As part of the Summit, there will be a global conference, business networking events, demo-days, investment presentations, as well as roundtable discussions on important global topics such as social capital, impact investing and environmental, social and corporate governance. The Summit will also feature an accelerators unit that will allow venture capital firms and start-ups to fast-track the establishment of their businesses in Dubai.

In 2018 Dubai Chamber conducted a study on the biggest challenges for technology start-ups and ‘access to finance’ was rated as the second most difficult challenge, specifically in the early stages. In respect to that, this Summit will provide an opportune stage for start-ups to identify sources of funding and link up with VCs from around the world.

UAE and Dubai startups usually attract 50 per cent of total funding raised in the Mena region. Dubai Chamber’s Dubai Start-up Hub has played a key role in helping entrepreneurs navigate the funding ecosystem, and has been receiving close to 50 individual requests from VCs globally, including from North America, Russia and India, about investing in Dubai start-ups.

Role of the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy

The Dubai Chamber for Digital Economy is focused on transforming the Emirate of Dubai into a global center for the digital economy.

It aims to do so by attracting international investments in the digital trade and industry sectors, engaging with various stakeholders in the field of advanced technology, accelerating the adoption of digital technologies in economic and social activities in the emirate and proactively embracing modern technologies, in addition to accelerating efforts to create the best digital infrastructure in the emirate and building capabilities and leadership.

The Chamber’s mandate also covers developing policy proposals and legislation necessary to enhance the digital economy environment in Dubai; strengthening partnerships with global institutions to develop digital development strategies; building a specialised international and local network and raising the competitiveness of national companies and supervising digital transformation plans.

According to the latest statistics, digital economy contributes about 4.3 per cent of the GDP in the UAE, which is equivalent to Dh100 billion. There are more than 1,400 startups in the country, with Dh1.5 billion allocated to them. There are 90 investment funds in the digital sector and 12 business incubators and the total value of startups in the country is estimated to be Dh90 billion.

— business@khaleejtimes.com

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