Start-up movement is gaining pace slowly but steadily in the Arab World, including countries like Oman and Egypt as hundreds of new technology start-ups are gradually being nurtured every year by venture capital funds that will change the economic landscape of the Arab World. The start-up scene is still emerging in the Arab world. With the number of start-ups growing in Arab region, the ecosystem here for entrepreneurs is improving. UAE ranked 20th in Global Entrepreneurship Index 2017, where many other MENA countries such as KSA and Egypt followed.
According to a report, more than half of the leading 200 funded start-ups in the region were established in the past five years. Start-ups from the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia account for 90 percent of total funding rose. As many as 46 percent of these young companies originate from the UAE.
This will be reflected at the AIM Startup – the largest gatherings of start-ups, venture capital funds and other stakeholders – that will be held in Dubai from April 9 to 11, 2018 – which will also see a large-scale GCC-wide participation through country pavilions. Many Arab countries are leveraging technology to advance economic and financial inclusion, according to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Fintech start-ups in the region have increased seven-fold since 2009, mostly in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE,” Christine Lagarde told delegates at a conference last week. Jordan, for example, introduced eFawateerCom, an electronic platform that allows people to pay bills online and from ATMs. It processes more than one million transactions a year and connects people with more than 70 online billers.
Set in the heart of the UAE’s Annual Investment Meeting – the World’s Leading FDI Platform – AIM Startup is the best platform for start-up enterprises looking to raise capital, expand into new markets and forge meaningful business relationships with key investors, business leaders, representatives of international organisations and government entities.
In Oman, three start-ups – Anawer, Guide Gate and Hadaya – have won the coveted Oman Roadshow and Pitch Competition – part of the AIM Startup. The winners will now compete in the final round at the AIM Startup 2018 Annual Event for selection among the best start-ups in the Middle East.
The Judging Panel comprising Mr Hamood Al Hamadan, Director of SAS for Entrepreneurship at Information Technology Authority, Ms Sharifa AlBarami, Managing Director at Oman Technology Fund, Chris Broad, Chief Mentor at Startup Oman, watched the pitches by a large number of pre-selected start-ups trying to outscore each other.
Oman’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is getting strong due to the boundless aid of Oman’s existing big corporations, business professionals, government supporters, thought leaders, financial investors, marketers, legal counsel and service providers. They are trying to support the new comers with massive backing.
Through channels such as Start-up Oman, the Sultanate has encouraged the success of its potential entrepreneurs. Many young people, nationals and expatriates have started recognising the power of start-up companies. Government-owned Oman Investment Fund (OIF) – has launched a $200 million Oman Technology Fund (OTF) to invest in start-up technology companies around the region.
Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO of AIM Startup, said, “Over the last decade, the entrepreneurial communities throughout the Middle East boomed frantically. Except Oman, who has remained without one of its own until a few years ago when things started to change. With a growing population of expatriates from last seven to eight years, the country has been able to offer extraordinary support to its growing startup scene. We believe that AIM Startup’s effort to support startup in Oman will bring Oman’s new entrepreneurs closer to investors, venture capital funds and mentors and build strong network. Start-up movement in Egypt, on the other hand, is sky-rocketing as thousands of young men and women are now competing for the best start-ups – that we are going to see at the Egypt Roadshow later this month.”
Moreover, a workshop titled “How to Pitch” is going to take place in Egypt at Creative Hub with Sara Abdelazim, Flat6Labs Community Manager as presenter. The content of the event will be – “The do’s and don’ts” of preparing your pitch deck to showcase your start-up and call for investments. The Egyptian tech scene continues to develop, with more key launches and funding rounds taking place in 2017 with Egyptian venture capital firm Algebra Ventures announced it had raised US$40 million to invest in local tech start-ups.
As the Egyptian start-up ecosystem is booming, several of the country’s most well-known startups are growing their teams and focusing on constructing community to benefit next generation innovators, creator and developers to accelerate country’s economy forward. Building a world-class network that supports new enterprises at their initial stage is the key motivation.
AIM Startup team has shortlisted 25 startups among 50 applicants to enter the pitch competition in Egypt, in the sectors of Sustainable development, Health, IOT, Government Safety, Technology in general & Agriculture. Earlier, 33 top start-ups were selected out of 150 participating start-ups in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait through a series of rigorous pitch competition – for the grand finale to be held at the AIM Startup- from April 9-11, 2018.
With a purpose to connect the start-up ecosystem of the Arab World to the global platform, AIM Startup will host a Country Pavilion Arena exclusively for the Arab nations comprising of their exclusive Top Startups, Incubators and Accelerators and top associations from Arab countries. The country pavilions will showcase key players from their country’s start-up ecosystem at the AIM Startup 2018 Annual Event.
Worthy start-ups will be short-listed to pitch their projects to a panel of international experts and massive number of investors, with a goal to attract capital investment and cash rewards. With the theme – Technology for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth – the second edition of AIM Startup has been aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Competitors will be given entrée for top-notch workshops and outstanding professional coaching sessions conducted by industry leaders from across the world.
The registration of AIM Startup 2018 is still going on. Interested party should fill the submission forms given in the website – http://aimstartup.com/ for registration and to get involved in the largest global startup platform.