Startups set to win big at GITEX Future Stars

Designed to extend collaborative growth opportunities, event features corporate pitches and competitions – over AED 1.2 million in cash and prizes for competing startups

Set to be the biggest ever the confluence of the global start-up ecosystem, GITEX Future Stars is set to offer entrepreneurs from across a chance to win both funding and opportunities to spur innovation through a targeted series of hosted competitions, innovation cups, and corporate pitch opportunities.

Held alongside GITEX Technology Week from October 8-12, 2017 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC); the Middle East and Africa’s largest startup conference will offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to win over AED 1.2 million in prizes including cash to support entrepreneurship, trips to Silicon Valley and the chance to pitch to key leaders in the startup ecosystem.

The event is set to host the GITEX Supernova Challenge, a series of pitch competitions offering to exhibit startups the opportunity to win over USD 180,000 in prize money across 18 categories including best global startup, most disruptive startup and best youth startup, in addition to sector-specific categories like FinTech, IoT, HealthTech, robotics and more.

Shortlisted startups will pitch their ideas to an esteemed panel of international venture capital investors including Sunny Dhillon, Founder, Signia Ventures Capital and Sean O’Sullivan, Founder & Managing Partner at SOSV, Abdul Malik Al Jaber, President & Founder, MENA Business Angel Network, in addition to prominent corporate buyers from Wa’ed Ventures, STC, Toshiba, DigiRobotics, and many more.  Winners of the GITEX Supernova Challenge will be announced on October 10, 2017, at the show.

In a regional first, GITEX Future Stars will also feature a collaborative entrepreneurship program in partnership with Wamda, the leading platform for entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa, to promote corporate-startup engagement in the region. Over a series of workshops and pitching sessions, select startups will come together to solve critical enterprise challenges with the goal of initiating partnerships with large regional and international companies.

Walid Faza, COO of Wamda said, “Both Wamda and GITEX Future Stars share the conviction that collaboration is key to driving the world’s innovation roadmap. While corporate entities have the funding and scale to bring new ideas to life, startups have the agile business ideas and potential to address evolving business challenges and create new models for growth. We are excited to come together with a global platform like GITEX Future Stars to build a bridge between two often polarized sides of the business world to create a mechanism for mutual benefit and collaboration.”

With a global drive towards digital transformation taking shape, experts from Accenture estimate global value from digitization to realize over USD 100 trillion in value to business and society in the run-up to 2025[1]. At the event, the company will launch, the Accenture Innovation Awards, an initiative that identifies and supports the best ideas that use technology to solve tomorrow’s problems, today. The initiative, in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai, Fintech Hive at DIFC and Etisalat Digital, recognizes up- and- coming start-ups that play a major role in changing and improving aspects of people’s lives. Winners will be chosen across three categories: Artificial Intelligence, Fintech, and Social Impact. Winning startups will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley, with Accenture assisting them in investor meetings. Winners of the Fintech and Social Impact categories will win an automatic placement at the Fintech Hive Investor Day and EXPO Live grant program, valued at US$100,000 each. Moreover, winners will receive access to a team of industry experts at Accenture, who will mentor, advise and counsel the winners on their businesses, including operations and client management.

“As an organization, we believe that entrepreneurs are critical to realizing innovative solutions that can drive business and encourage concrete change. The Accenture Innovation Awards winners embody these values and expect that their ideas have the potential to make a lasting impact in the region,” said Xavi Anglada, managing director and Accenture Digital lead in the Middle East and Turkey. “With the UAE government focused on nurturing entrepreneurs in their quest to building a knowledge-based economy, we are committed to developing an ecosystem that supports disruptive thought in the digital space. This talent will be critical in transforming ideas into viable businesses, and will ultimately redefine the way in which we look at problems.”

GITEX Future Stars will see a series of competitions during the week run by innovation giants in the startup ecosystem and beyond. In an effort to enhance and elevate the tourism experience in Dubai, Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is running a competition to seek for the next big thing in travel technology. The top 30 entries will receive their own space at GITEX Future Stars in October to showcase their ideas to thousands of corporate buyers, regional operators, and over 250 investors.

In addition, these budding entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch their proposal to a panel of judges, with the three leading ideas from each category receiving cash prizes to turn their business into reality.

As Gitex Future Stars’ Women Innovation Partner, NAMA Women Advancement Establishment is supporting the participation of eight Emirati women-led startups that offer a platform to engage with peers and showcase groundbreaking ideas to an audience of potential investors and clientele from across the globe.

NAMA was launched by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah with a mandate to empower women entrepreneurs.

At the event, NAMA will also launch the Badiri Business Entrepreneurship Virtual Academy, a digital platform for aspiring and current entrepreneurs, providing resources, training and a community of empowered peers. The Academy is launched in partnership with FazINOVA, one of the top online educational portals based in Brazil, which was founded by MIT graduate, entrepreneur and writer, Bel Pesce and will feature programmes to empower entrepreneurs locally, regionally and globally.

YVOLV, a joint venture between Alibaba Cloud and Meraas Holdings will showcase Yvolv Ignite, a tailor-made program designed to offer early-stage startups access to a diverse toolkit of cloud computing resources to help fast-track their growth. GITEX Future Stars will see 10 startups from the program present their ideas and potential to redefine the e-commerce and service provider landscape across the region.

“Never before has the world seen a program and agenda as driven as GITEX Future Stars to make dreams a reality. Our aim is to bring leaders in innovation, both big and small, together with hugely successful investors and venture capitalists to create a new world order for innovation and transformation. Driving the economic agenda requires the necessary tools and platforms to empower human capital and we look forward to kicking off a platform that brings all the players of a burgeoning ecosystem together to collaboratively drive change and bring new opportunities to life,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.

A global, boundary-pushing startup event for rule breakers, game changers, and dream makers, GITEX Future Stars extends an essential platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and innovation on a global stage. The event brings to Dubai the world’s leading angel investors and venture capitalists, with an estimated $11 billion in combined managed funds[2] together with over 700 entrepreneurs and innovators from across 75 countries to network and unleash the potential of the next big opportunity.

About GITEX Future Stars

GITEX Future Stars is the Middle East and Africa’s largest start-up confluence of global tech entrepreneurs, international investors, and influential corporate buyers. It is the biggest commercial sales platform for startups alongside GITEX Technology Week, the region’s foremost tech sourcing and networking event featuring the biggest governments and private sector organizations. www.gitexfuturestars.com

About Dubai World Trade Centre

With a vision to make Dubai the world’s leading destination for all major exhibitions, conferences, and events, DWTC has evolved from being the regional forerunner of the fast-growing MICE industry into a Free Zone, multi-dimensional business catalyst, focusing on Venues, Events and Real Estate Development and Management. Complementary to the primary service offerings are a range of value-added services from media/advertising, engineering and technical consultation and wedding planning, security services and an award-winning hospitality portfolio.

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