Middle East startup investment nears $1 billion in 2017

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on August 24, 2017 | Last updated on August 24, 2017 at 10.03 pm
Middle East startup investment nears $1 billion in 2017
Twenty Middle East innovators have been named Ashoka Changemakers.

(Supplied photo)

First-ever ChangemakerXchange Summit selects 20 entrepreneurs who will receive access to funding

In line with the UAE's Year of Giving, and Middle East startup support approaching $1 billion (Dh3.38 billion) in 2017, one of the world's leading entrepreneur platforms has selected 20 Middle East innovators to drive global best practices.

At the first-ever ChangemakerXchange Summit for entrepreneurs from across the Middle East, sponsored by social entrepreneurship platform Ashoka and digital transformation enabler SAP, 20 entrepreneurs were selected to receive access to fundraising, resources, and mentorship at a regional and global level.

At the event, 18 regional entrepreneurs attended, while two additional Syrian entrepreneurs were also selected as Changemakers but could not attend. Showing the strong business potential for entrepreneurs, startup investment in the Middle East and North Africa will near $1 billion in 2017, according to the World Economic Forum.

"Dubai and the UAE are global hubs for entrepreneurs and startups. In line with the UAE's Year of Giving and making a difference in people's lives, Ashoka and SAP are dedicated to supporting UAE-based and Middle East entrepreneurs in enhancing their business networks. These UAE startups are set to to take their transformational projects to the next level and make a positive impact on society," said Tayfun Topkoc, managing director of SAP UAE and Oman.

In the UAE, Noha Mahdi's The Mawada Project offers community service learning programmes for children aged between nine to 18, and has touched the lives of more than 500 people. "Becoming an Ashoka ChangemakerXchange alumna is helping my coordination with fellow Changemakers in using education to support youth development across the Middle East, and build empathy and goodwill," founder Mahdi said.

In Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Alaqil's Saudi Antibiotics Integrated Regulatory Program medical research programme is partnering with leading universities to research anti-microbial resistance. "By joining Ashoka ChangemakerXchange, I'll be able to bring together the global healthcare community to fight anti-microbial resistance, optimise healthcare budgets, and enhance citizen health," founder Alaqil said. In Egypt, Dahlia Elorabi's Baladini programme supports rural woman in producing healthy food.

"As a Changemaker, I'll be able to scale up Baladini's support for Egyptian farmers to grow nutritious food, their economic participation, and cross-cultural exchange," project manager Elorabi said.

For people with disabilities in Pakistan, Tanzila Khan's Creative Alley promotes talent and capacity building through arts and culture activities and social events. In Pakistan, Madeeha Raza became a Changemaker for the women-empowerment programme Women Through Film, while Azeem Hamid's Independent Theatre Pakistan and Saad Hamid's School of Skills support youth development.

"Through the ChangemakerXchange programme, I'll be able to collaborate with regional organisations to promote people with disabilities' hidden potential in the creative arts and help them reach their dreams," said Tanzila Khan, founder of Creative Alley.


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