Wednesday 5, October 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: The largest-ever GITEX Technology Week is primed to drive the world’s smart digital transformation, support young entrepreneurs, and enhance Dubai and the UAE’s standing as one of the foremost capitals of innovation.

In the most game-changing edition in recent years, GITEX has created the GITEX Global Startup Movement – although only in its first year of inception it is already the largest startup event in the wider region, and the most global showcase in the world.

Building on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, for the Emirate to be an internationally recognised hub for digital innovation and creating sustainable economic growth as part of Dubai Plan 2021, GITEX aims to shine a spotlight on Arab and international innovation and entrepreneurship through this weeklong showcase of global force, uniting young innovators from around the world to share, learn, experience and build lasting partnerships.

Across its largest-ever space of over one million square feet, organisers of GITEX expect over 100,000 visitors from 150 countries. Held under the theme “Re-Imagining Realities,” GITEX will host 4,000 exhibiting companies and showcase 230 speakers, provide visitors with 130 conference hours.

Empowering Innovative Entrepreneurs

At the GITEX Global Startup Movement, more than 400 startups from 60 countries and over 1,000 entrepreneurs will gather in Dubai to sell and learn. While the UAE will be represented with 85 startups, 79 per cent of startups will hail from the rest of the world.

Over 200 investors and influential tech investment executives from Silicon Valley, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including SoftBank Group International, 500 Startups, Accel Partners, Golden Gate Ventures, Middle East Venture Partners amongst others will arrive in Dubai to explore, discover, evaluate and potentially fund some of the most promising startups with a particular eye on regional talent. The illustrious funding ventures of these investors include global giants Facebook, Dropbox and Spotify among others.

“Through GITEX we want to create the life-changing opportunity for startups to meet face-to-face with legendary investors and accelerator firms, be it for funding support or advisory guidance that shall help them breakthrough in their ventures. There is great aspiration and ambition amongst these young creative Arab minds to change the world with their imagination. By bringing them closer to their fellow startup peers from other countries, some of which are successful references, this valuable sharing experience built through mutual respect and admiration shall inspire their growth and infuse their innovation. GITEX is privileged to be an enabler to create these life-changing opportunities in their entrepreneurship journeys,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of GITEX Technology Week 2016.

The UAE’s support for entrepreneurs is the top in the Middle East and North Africa, and 19th in the world. Each new startup can increase GDP by USD 1.2 million, according to the US-based economic policy think tank the Pacific Research Institute.

AstroLabs Dubai is the only Google-partnered Tech Hub in the MENA region and Muhammed Meki, co-founder of AstroLabs will also be one of the judges for the ‘Strut-Up’ Pitch competition. Muhammed will be sharing his experiences as a successful entrepreneur through mentorship sessions at the GITEX Global Startup Movement.

“The GITEX Global Startup Movement is unprecedented in its focus on attracting startups from around the world to Dubai, an ideal hub for them to reach emerging markets from Africa to Asia. As an enabler of the regional startup ecosystem, AstroLabs is partnering with GITEX to support these entrepreneurs on their growth journey and we look forward to meeting them during the event” said Zaen Hamid, Head of Operations, AstroLabs.

Fourteen government-led startup delegations will attend the GITEX Global Startup Movement, including the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and United States. Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Morocco, and Oman will bring startup delegations to the GCC for the first time.

In the dramatic GITEX “Strut-Up” Pitch Competition, startups will go head-to-head to take home USD 160,000 in prize money across categories including Best GITEX Startup, Best Arab-Led Startup, the Best Women-Led Startup and the Best Youth Start Up.

Inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs, the Out-Talk Conference will host keynotes from startup experts such as media mogul Troy Carter, who catapulted pop icon Lady Gaga and John Legend to global fame, now Global Head of Creator Services for digital music service Spotify; Evan Burfield, Co-Founder of startup incubator and seed fund 1776; and venture investor Christopher Schroeder who recently wrote “Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East”.

GITEX Vertical Days Programme – Technology Means Business

Worldwide, 22.5 per cent of the economy is now digital, with industry verticals in emerging markets rapidly adopting digital technologies. In fields such as banking and finance, digital accounts for 57 per cent of output.

GITEX Vertical Days conference programme will feature 230 exceptional speakers across 65 sessions in Marketing and Healthcare Monday, Finance and Intelligent Cities Tuesday, Retail and Education Wednesday, and Energy Thursday.

“Accenture is proud to be the exclusive digital transformation partner of GITEX. The digital space is evolving at a rapid pace, and organisations need to understand how they can best leverage digital technologies to support their organisations. Accenture will be sharing global and regional best practices and insights into how to harness the power of digital, particularly smart technologies that have the ability to transform how each and every one of us lives and works,” said Omar Boulos, Regional Managing Director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa, which will serve as Exclusive Digital Transformation Partner.

Accenture’s Group Chief Executive Mike Sutcliff will present a keynote, joined by speakers such as Rafael Grossmann, the first surgeon to use Google Glass during live surgery; Keith Kaplan, CEO of the The Tesla Foundation; and Silcon Valley futurist Robert Scoble.

SAP, in attendance at GITEX for the fifth year, and one of GITEX’s startup partners has recently launched its Training and Development Institute’s Startup Focus programme, which is using the GITEX Global Startup Movement as a launchpad for its upcoming Startup Focus Middle East roadshow, to find startups that can transform industry verticals such as healthcare, education, and sports.

“At GITEX, SAP is committed to demonstrating how real-time technology can drive Digital Economy competitiveness in line with government initiatives, enhance citizen and customer services and costs, and support the next generation of Middle East startups,” said George Riding, Chief Operating Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at SAP, which is serving as the event’s Startup Partner.

Future Technology for Future Cities

At GITEX, future technology focus areas include augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, drones, and robotics that present strong potential to redefine daily lives, workplaces, Smart Cities, and mega-events.

Global technology company Panasonic, for example, will showcase for the first time outside of Japan, its latest innovation BalloonCamTM, combining a drone and large balloon for recording mega-events and close interactive customer experiences.

“At mega-events such as World Expo 2020 in Dubai and 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, digital technology will deliver immersive and interactive visitor experiences. As the Middle East is at the forefront of adopting the latest innovations, Panasonic is committed to driving the regions smart digital future, with products and solutions, including supporting the startup eco system, of any size or scale of projects” said Shinichi Wakita, Managing Director of Panasonic MEA.

This year, the Smart Dubai Office is bringing a first-of-its-kind city experience to GITEX. By bringing together partners from public and private sectors, Smart Dubai is offering visitors a true smart city experience. All participating entities will be showcasing smart services and solutions that are making Dubai a more efficient, seamless, safe, and impactful experience today, contributing to Smart Dubai’s citywide vision to become the happiest city on earth, powered by smart technology.

“Dubai is a global nerve centre connecting and setting new standards for Smart Cities around the world. The UAE government aims to demonstrate best practices in innovation – from network infrastructure and mobile citizen services, to signing game-changing public-private partnerships. GITEX provides the one-stop-shop for government leaders to exchange best practices in Smart Cities innovation,” said Mr. Wesam Lootah, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Smart Government.

Boosted by Saudi Vision 2030 and Economic Cities, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ICT spend will reach USD 35 billion in 2016, the largest in the region. Encouraging investment and showcasing Saudi innovations, the Kingdom returns as the events’ Official Country Partner, with its largest-ever presence.

DarkMatter, GITEX’s Official Cyber Security Innovation Partner, a company that began as a startup itself, will be exhibiting at GITEX for the first time. DarkMatter is now a strategic partner to governments and critical entities, providing trusted and integrated cybersecurity solutions.

“DarkMatter was recently selected to participate in the Dubai Future Accelerators programme, an initiative launched by the government of Dubai to use cutting edge technology to solve a series of city-wide and national challenges. DarkMatter’s participation at GITEX Technology Week as Cyber Innovation Partner is an extension of our determination to place cyber security at the centre of digitisation, and we acknowledge the vision of the leadership of Dubai and the UAE to develop initiatives that highlight their appreciation that technological innovation holds the answer to many current and future challenges faced by society,” Faisal Al Bannai, Chief Executive Officer of DarkMatter.

Elsewhere, technology powerhouse Samsung at GITEX will take reality to a new level with the mission to set the world record for the most participated VR coaster.

Celebrating transformative technology, young entrepreneurs, future cities and much more, the 36th edition of GITEX Technology Week will be the most influential and transformational to date.