Step Conference celebrates decade of promoting tech entrepreneurship

In strategic partnership with Dubai Internet City, the milestone anniversary will spotlight more than 400 global tech start-ups
In strategic partnership with Dubai Internet City, the milestone anniversary will spotlight more than 400 global tech start-ups

The packed schedule of talks will feature leaders from Amazon, Anghami, Polaroid, and many more


A Staff Reporter

Published: Fri 28 Jan 2022, 5:48 PM

Step Conference, a tech festival for emerging markets, will return from February 23-24, 2022, while celebrating a decade of inspiring entrepreneurship, enabling innovation, and producing economic value in the region.

Organised in strategic partnership with Dubai Internet City, the latest edition of the event will spotlight more than 400 global tech start-ups, while tackling hot ticket topics like Web3, NFTs, blockchain, and fintech.

The milestone anniversary’s arrival alongside Expo 2020 Dubai underlines a significant opportunity for the conference and its showcasing start-ups, as it elevates the region's potential for entrepreneurship and innovation to a global audience. Step will build upon the revolutionary technological advancements and conversations taking place at the global exhibition, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digital healthcare, while setting the stage for international opportunities and visibility.

The 10th edition will see an action-packed two days of high-profile speakers, exciting pitching opportunities, and a lively agenda covering the most trending discussions in tech. Visitors will have the chance to attend insightful keynotes and panel discussions by tech heavyweights the likes of Paul Misener, VP of Global Innovation Policy and Communication at Amazon; Elie Habib, founder of Anghami; and Michelle Arrazcaeta, head of Brand Strategy & Collaborations at Polaroid. Also joining the roster is Humans of New York breakout star Sidra Qasim, co-founder of Brooklyn-based shoe brand, Atoms.

This year’s conference focuses on four key tracks, including fintech with an emphasis on payments, crypto and e-commerce; future innovations with a focus on AI, mobility, energy and cloud; digital with media, marketing and content; and wellness deep-diving into health-tech and lifestyle. Visitors can dive into the future of tech as start-ups exhibit innovative products and services, while looking back at the past decade of nurturing the region’s start-up ecosystem.

The partnership between Dubai Internet City and Step brings cutting-edge conversations and industry insights to a comprehensive community of startups, investors, accelerators, corporations and government representatives. The resulting platform nurtures unrivalled opportunities for knowledge sharing and collaboration in vital and emerging tech sectors, enabling businesses in the region to harness the power and expertise of game-changing entrepreneurs from around the world.

Ammar Al Malik, MD of Dubai Internet City, said: “Our leadership’s vision to transform the UAE into a global technology hub and establish a world-class digital infrastructure relies on ambitious start-ups pushing the envelope to deliver unique solutions and nurture competition. Our business district has been a cornerstone of the country’s economic diversification strategy for over 20 years and empowering start-ups and SMEs is essential in cementing our global competitiveness and commitment to innovation."

"We are delighted to continue our partnership with Step Conference, as it embodies our district’s reputation of ‘Where Minds Click’. We will see the complete start-up community convene in the heart of Dubai Internet City, showcasing the brightest minds and ideas defining the digital future. Step’s arrival alongside the Expo 2020 unveils an immense opportunity for us to showcase our inspiring community to the global technology and innovation ecosystem. We hope to welcome international delegations to the conference, expanding the potential for partnerships and investment on a larger scale than ever before,” he said.

Ray Dargham, CEO of Step, said: “We are very excited for our next edition, happening at the same time as Expo 2020 this year and celebrating the past decade as we witness the ecosystem evolve. Our partnership with Dubai Internet City has been impactful in engaging and supporting entrepreneurs in the region. We look forward to host top experts and discuss a future with a new digital landscape.”

Having started as a series of workshops and small gatherings in 2011, Step has evolved into a comprehensive conference ecosystem exploring the future of tech. It brings together the complete start-up community under one roof with enriching opportunities to engage and exchange expertise.

Its continued collaboration with Dubai Internet City, a leading business district home to more than 1,600 tech start-ups, SMEs and international corporations, underscores the emirate’s enabling environment suited to start-ups, future unicorns and entrepreneurs. In 2019, the UAE ranked among the top 20 of 190 global economies in the World Bank’s ease of doing business report, with aims to enhance business-friendly policies further in coming years. Dubai’s state-of-the-art infrastructure, government-backed initiatives – including the Ministry of Economy’s bid to nurture 20 unicorns by 2031 – and incubators like in5, enhance the country’s attractiveness to entrepreneurs and investors alike, establishing a strong platform for growth and success.

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