AIM Startup kicks off roadshows in Kuwait, Oman and Egypt to fuel start-up movement in the GCC

January 24, 2018

DUBAI — Liberalization of investment and licensing procedure as well as easing of entry-level processes for new businesses is helping the region’s start-up movement gain momentum as the second round of the AIM Startup roadshows kick off this week in Kuwait, later in Oman and Egypt — that will see a number of new start-up companies enter the final round of the region-wide pitch competition to select the best start-ups.

Any start-up with a good cause and a business plan could vie for the final showdown at the AIM Startup 2018 Annual Event – the largest start-up event in the Middle East – where start-ups will meet with international venture capitalists, angel investors and government officials and have various opportunities namely pitch competitions, mentoring sessions, workshops, meeting room and full day conference by the industry experts.

The three roadshows take place following a series of pitch competitions held earlier in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – where 25 start-ups have been selected for the grand finale to be held at the AIM Startup – the mega event at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 9-11.

Five top start-ups will be selected from each of the pitch competitions in Kuwait, Oman and Egypt – who will then enter into the final round of the competition to attract funding and vie for the coveted prizes of up to $50,000.

Start-ups in Kuwait will compete at the Kuwait Roadshow and Pitch Competition on the premises of Cubicle Services – the host partner of the competition – on Jan. 25 to qualify for the final round.

Start-ups in Oman are also gearing up for the Oman Pitch Competition to be hosted by host partner SAS Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Knowledge Oasis in Muscat on Jan. 28.

Egypt’s young entrepreneurs will compete at the Egypt Roadshow and Pitch Competition at the Creative Hub – host partners of the event – on Feb. 19, & 20.

The selected MENA start-ups will now have the opportunity to come to Dubai and participate at AIM Startup’s Grand Annual Event in April 2018 – all expenses paid!

AIM Startup, the largest platform in the MENA region for start-ups, is helping create a start-up eco-system that will bring investors, venture capitals and start-ups closer to help create employment and accelerate economic growth.

AIM Startup is fast becoming the most important annual jamboree of the start-ups in the Arab world.

Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO of AIM Startup, says, “The economic landscape of the Arab world is changing fast. From smart homes to paperless digital payment processes to drones replacing home delivery vehicles to the launch of flying taxis — we are going through an exciting phase in the digital transformation of services. These transformations will be led by the start-ups that will shape our lives.

“AIM Startup has generated a huge amount of interest amongst hundreds of start-up companies in the region who are lining up in big numbers at the AIM Start-up roadshows and pitch competitions to showcase their project to the funding communities and other stakeholders.

“The start-up movement is also gaining momentum in line with the digital revolution in the region that is gradually embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and changing the way we live and work.

“Our team is relentlessly working with the regional start-ups to prepare them for meetings with venture capitalists and other funding entities, helping them to expand their services throughout the Arab world.”

Earlier, 25 start-ups were selected out of 100 participating start-ups in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain through a series of rigorous pitch competitions. 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).

An initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy, AIM Startup brings tech-entrepreneurs closer to investors, venture capital funds and mentors, to help new technology-driven solutions and companies start up and grow.

Haifa Bedrawi, project manager of AIM Startup, said, “As we enter the final phase of the region-wide roadshows and pitch competitions, we see tremendous amount of energy and interest among the young entrepreneurs.”

AIM Startup runs concurrently with the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) – the world’s leading platform for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in emerging markets, which is held under the aegis of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice-president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai. The platform is aimed at facilitating strategic networking and promoting investment.

Start-ups in the region need funding and institutional support to expand and play their due role in changing the economic landscape. — SG

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