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MENA Catalyst heads to Silicon Valley: Tech Crunch Disrupt SF 2019



From London Tech Week to Tech Crunch at Silicon Valley, MENA Catalyst has partnered with MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab to provide game-changing opportunities for Palestinian startups everywhere.

For the 6th edition of MENACatalyst’s signature Demo Events, 4 Palestinian startups namely ReceetJWARInggez, and Viavii will travel with 12 of the region’s most disruptive startups for a week-long trip to the world’s capital of entrepreneurship and innovation, Silicon Valley.

Taking part in MIT EF Pan Arab’s “Arab World Meets Silicon Valley” program, participating startups will gain insider knowledge into the inner workings of some of the biggest corporations dominating the tech scene in silicon valley and around the world. Startups will not only get to take part in immersive tours at the headquarters of Salesforce, Facebook, and even Google but have exclusive meetings with representatives there.

The weeklong event provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to put their startups on display and take part in world-class conferences, in-depth trainings, one-on-one sessions and networking events with a host of tech executives, investors and mentors dominating Silicon Valley.

Startups will also get to attend Tech Crunch: Disrupt San Francisco 2019. The ticketed event brings together the world’s premier startups who are shaping the future of tech innovation as we know it. This year’s Disrupt SF ‘19 has a range of impressive events in-store for tech startups including conferences led by prominent entrepreneurs and tech executives showcasing the latest trends disrupting the tech world to pitching competitions with a $100,000 grand prize, to name a few.

For Palestinian startups that have the innovation and skills to compete on a global stage yet lack access to strategic networks and markets, this year’s Disrupt SF ’19 will prove to be a pivotal step forward. Startups will connect with international business enablers and capitalize on potential mentorship and investment opportunities to tap into new markets and compete on a global scale.

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Techne Summit Is Back In Alexandria With $1 Million Up For Grabs



Techne Summit, the Mediterranean’s leading startup event, is holding its fifth edition on September 28, 29 and 30, at the iconic Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in the coastal city of Alexandria. Organized by creative agency “Markade,” the summit this year is spreading its reach to other districts in Alexandria, with 5 days of satellite events. The event will kick off on September 28th, featuring some of the world’s most vivacious pioneers, entrepreneurs and investors. The summit will also witness the launch of MedAngels, the first Mediterranean-wide network of Angel Investors, which will gather multi-country Angel Investment Networks, as well as regional enablers, funds and diaspora investors.

The MedAngels network, which will be launched on September 30 at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, comprised of investors from France, Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Slovenia, Croatia, among others. “This year, we are looking into turning Alexandria into an interactive hub that spreads across six days filled with activities. Aside from the launch of MedAngels, which is the highlight of the event, we’re engaging youth and entrepreneurs with exciting activities like Techne Bytes and Techne Nights,” says Tarek ElKady, founder and chairman or Techne Summit, Alexandria Business Angel Network (Alex Angels), and the Mediterranean Business Angel Investment Network.

From media moguls, to Techstars executives, prominent speakers will be taking to the stage, including Techstars’ VP of Innovation Chris Heivly, who will be telling attendees how to build the fort to start anything, Nina Ann Walters, founder and Managing Director of Berlin-based Expandise.Walid Mansour, Partner and Chief Investment Officer of MEVP, and Keith Wallace, Managing Partner at Hivos Impact Investments, will also be presenting at the 3-day event. Added to the talks, panels and workshops, Markade is adding Techne Bytes and Techne Nights, a series of activities engaging businesses and entrepreneurs from across Alexandria, the Mediterranean and beyond, to mingle, network and connect. The summit will also offer five startup competitions, including the Startup World Cup, a global startup competition that offers winners the chance to get a $1 million dollar investment and the opportunity to pitch in Silicon Valley. Other competitions include the “Edventures Competition,” “Techne & AXA for HealthTech,” “Future Technopreneurs,” in partnership with Egypt’s TIEC, and “Win a Trip to Stockholm!,” in partnership with the Swedish Embassy in Egypt.

Furthermore, satellite events will be taking place across over 10 co-working spaces across Alexandria and Egypt to bring a variety of events around the summit, from cyber-security, to branding, and even yoga.

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Dubai Investment Week to boost investor confidence



H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, emphasised that Foreign Direct Investment flows into Dubai in 2019 continued to grow remarkably, making the emirate one of the top three global FDI locations. This achievement has been made possible by the vision and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness said.

Sheikh Hamdan added that such an achievement reflects the confidence of the local and global investor community in Dubai’s strategic plans and vision for the future.

In this context, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed has issued directives to hold the fifth edition of Dubai Investment Week from 29 September to 3 October 2019, under the theme ‘Investing in the City of the Future’. He said the week-long programme of events will showcase how Dubai has transformed the challenges of future cities into opportunities for growth, partnership and innovation to cope with the needs of the present and lead the world as the smart and sustainable city of the future.

“The Dubai leadership’s push in adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and creating regulatory frameworks for new business models have further developed Dubai’s investment environment and opportunities as well as its human capital, and hard and digital infrastructure advantages,” said His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. “Today, Dubai is a preferred global FDI destination in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics,” he added. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed hailed the role of ” Dubai Investment Week”, organised by Dubai Investment Development Agency, an agency of Dubai Economy, in enhancing the readiness of the investment environment and investor confidence in the emirate, as well as highlighting current and future investment opportunities in the strategic and emerging economic sectors in the emirate.

He also praised the progress achieved in facilitating investments and supporting the success and expansion of businesses through the introduction of new and innovative legislation and services. Furthermore, he called for deeper cooperation between government entities and investors to further enhance the productivity, competitiveness, and return on investment in the emirate and enhance the contribution of FDI projects to the sustainable economic development of the UAE and Dubai. Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy said, “The Dubai Investment Week is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, and reflects Dubai’s leading position in enhancing FDI’s contribution to the future. “Al Qamzi pointed out that DIW 2019 edition comes at a time when the UAE’s and Dubai’s investment environment is witnessing many positive developments. “A series of legislation and new initiatives by our wise leadership to boost investments, have enhanced Dubai’s attractiveness for capital, technology, and talent,” he added.

“Dubai’s success in attracting remarkable FDI flows will further enhance the emirate’s position as a pivotal hub in the global economy, thanks to the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” continued Al Qamzi.

“Dubai Economy is committed to further develop and enhance cooperation with local and international investors through the DIW 2019 programme as a leading global platform to learn about opportunities for growth, partnership, and innovation in Dubai,” said Al Qamzi.

“Despite regional and global economic challenges, FDI inflows into Dubai in recent years, have been sustainable and growing. Today, Dubai is one of the top three global FDI locations, which reflects investors’ confidence in the Emirate’s investment ecosystem and its strategic advantage as the city of the future, the gateway for regional growth markets and global business hub,” he concluded. Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer of DUBAI FDI noted that the DIW 2019 will focus on partnerships with investors and how Dubai keeps pace with the current and future aspirations of local and global investors to further develop its FDI ecosystem.

“We aim to develop new investment opportunities in strategic and emerging economic sectors and transform the challenges facing future cities to new investment opportunities to enhance the success and expansion of global companies and startups in Dubai and beyond,” Al Gergawi added.

He also highlighted that DIW 2019 is set to draw more participation from both government entities and Free Zones as organising partners of specialised ‘Spotlight on Investment Opportunities’ forums, with a focus on sectoral investment opportunities.

“Specialised forums highlighting sector developments, government strategies and global trends will enhance the participation of the local and global investor communities in shaping the policy and the opportunities of the future to develop an ideal investment environment,” he added. DIW 2019 agenda includes four strategic forums. The ‘Spotlight on Investment Opportunities’ forums will be organised in partnership with Dubai Health Authority to present healthcare investment opportunities and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre to showcase investment opportunities for Chinese companies in light of the latest government strategies and global trends.

The ‘FDI Readiness Forum’, a capacity-building forum dedicated to investment promotion professionals, will feature workshops and expert panels on Dubai’s strategic advantages. The ‘Impact FDI Forum,’ to be held in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation, will discuss corporate venture capital in entrepreneurship and innovation and its role in shaping the future of cities. The ‘FDI Policy Forum,’ to be held in partnership with Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, will discuss issues related to investing in the talent ecosystem and policies to develop and attract future talent.

The opening ceremony of DIW 2019 will be held on Monday, September 30, at the Godolphin Ballroom, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, and will be attended by government leaders and international delegations from the United States, Britain, Italy, China and India, and representatives of leading international companies, entrepreneurs and FDI experts. Several notable speakers will participate in the leaders’ dialogue sessions featuring global experts, government leaders, and senior executives. The Opening Ceremony also features the ‘Impact FDI Awards’ 2018, presented to leading FDI projects, in recognition of their contributions to the future of Dubai’s sustainable economic development and prosperity. The programme also features keynote presentations and panel discussions on the economic outlook, investor services and new initiatives offered by Dubai Economy.

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UK and Lebanon Sign Trade Continuity Agreement



In a press release by the British Embassy in Beirut, it said: “Trade Policy Minister, the Rt Hon Conor Burns MP and the Lebanese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Gebran Bassil have signed today a UK-Lebanon trade agreement. It ensures British businesses and consumers will continue to benefit from preferential trading terms with Lebanon after we leave the European Union.

The signature of the UK-Lebanon Association Agreement at the UK-Lebanon Tech Forum in London will provide a framework for cooperation and development on political, economic, social and cultural links. The new UK-Lebanon Association Agreement provides, among other trade benefits, tariff-free trade of industrial products together with liberalisation of trade in agricultural, agri-food and fisheries products. Trading on these preferential terms delivers significant savings, helping to support British jobs and also providing a positive boost for Lebanon’s economy, which continues to be impacted by the Syrian crisis.

This agreement provides a platform for trade between the UK and Lebanon to grow, with total trade worth £603 million in 2018. It also provides the certainty for British and Lebanese consumers and businesses to continue trading following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The agreement sends a strong signal that Britain is committed to a close bilateral relationship with Lebanon.

Minister of State for International Trade Conor Burns said:
“Our priority is to ensure businesses are fully prepared and have the tools they need to continue to trade by the 31 October. Today’s signing with Lebanon will help provide certainty and opportunities for businesses in both the UK and Lebanon.

“I hope that this Agreement will usher in a new phase of increased bilateral investment in each other’s economies, which is the basis for continued stable economic growth.” Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Dr Andrew Murrison said:
“I welcome the signing of the UK-Lebanon Association Agreement, which provides certainty and confidence to UK and Lebanese consumers and businesses as we leave the European Union.

The economic and trade relationship between our two countries holds much potential. I look forward to more British and Lebanese companies doing business with each other, investing and operating in the UK and Lebanon as a result of this Agreement.

“Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Lebanon Chris Rampling said: “The signing of the UK-Lebanon Association Agreement – our first bilateral trade agreement – marks the strength of the UK-Lebanon partnership and a new phase of increased bilateral investment in each other’s economies.

Lebanon represents un-tapped opportunities for UK companies, especially in new technologies, creative industries, infrastructure and energy, and as a gateway to the Middle East. This Agreement promotes our countries’ political, economic, security and cultural cooperation and will ensure continuity, lead to more liberalisation, and present opportunities to do more together.

The UK supports Lebanon’s economic reform programme, and recognises the potential opportunities for much deeper trade and investment ties between our two complementary economies and their global diasporas.”

This agreement will now be subject to the domestic internal procedures of both countries party to the agreement before it can be brought into force.

The UK will continue to be covered by the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement while it is a member of the EU. This agreement is designed to take effect when the EU-Lebanon agreement ceases to apply to the UK.

On the sidelines of this events, The Technical Forum team attended As International Financial Institutions for Lebanon’s Tech Industry. Lebanon-based companies MEVP, multiLane, Myki, Speed, and CME share their experiences on building global companies out of Beirut and the advantages and potential of Beirut as an outsourcing hub.

We got to see the amazing innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Lebanese Startups at the LebUKTech2019! Congratulations to the finalists: Clean2O, Fineon, and Routable Ai, and to the winners of the startecheus competition: 1. Cherpa 2. Zima 3.CompostBaladi

CEO Maroun Edde moderated by Nina Dos Santos with topics such as AI, the future of financial markets, and working with millenials.
Murex is one of the biggest fintech success stories from Lebanon with offices

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Washington’s Talent Tech Startup Localized Scores $1.2 Million, Services Now Live In Mena



Localized unlocks educated talent for global companies that are seeking to grow their brands and hire fresh talent. US-based talent tech recruitment platform Localized has closed a seed investment round of $1.2 million led by a variety of undisclosed institutional and angel investors, including Dubai Angel Investors and Jordan’s Beyond Capital. The platform, which is live in the Middle East and North Africa in over 54 career centres and student organisations, aims to connect top university student and alumni with industry experts and potential employers in emerging markets.

“Localized enables access to universities in emerging markets starting with the MENA region, where 60% of the population is under the age of 30,” says Heather Henyon, board member of Dubai Angel Investors and Next Wave Impact.

In an attempt to improve the global staffing market, especially in emerging markets, Localized unlocks educated talent for global companies that are seeking to grow their brands on a world scale and hire fresh talent as they expand. Localized is headquartered in Washington DC, with team members working all over the globe from New York, San Francisco, to Ramallah, Cairo, Amman, Bangalore, as they plan to dominate regional markets.

Established in June 2017, Localized allows university recruits and business-focused universities to seek potential talent through a digitised process while students get informative insights from professionals who share a common interest. We are very excited to take part in Localized’s journey and hope that we will be able to contribute to its growth and success,” comments Tamer AlSalah, Managing Director at Amman’s Beyond Capital.

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Bahrain to host 18th Arab Business and Investors Conference in November



Bahrain is set to host the 18th Arab Businessmen and Investors Conference on 11th November 2019, with the slogan “Investing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Pioneering and Innovation in the Digital Economy”.

A roadshow event for the upcoming 18th Arab Businessmen and Investors Conference was hosted recently in Jeddah. The executive bureau members and top executives from both the Chambers were in attendance, including Khalaf Hosan Al-Otaibi, Mohammed Abduljabbar Alkooheji, and Basem Mohammed Al Saei.

In the opening statements, Al-Otiabi welcomed the Bahraini delegation and announced that they are willing to fully support the Jeddah Chamber in making the upcoming Conference a success.

Alkooheji also said that the BCCI was pleased to invite representatives from across the world to come together and explore the opportunities, possibilities, and challenges of the 4th Industrial revolution to obtain a better future.

He also stated that Bahrain is a great example of a business-friendly nation having no free zone restrictions, the majority of the activities owned by foreigners, and cost-efficient operations. Bahrain is the first nation in the GCC to end its dependence on oil and became the region’s most diversified and leading financial hub with a sustainable economy. According to Alkooheji, the Conference will focus on the impacts of the 4th Industrial Revolution on the region.

The 18th Arab Businessmen and Investors Conference has multiple objectives, including reviewing various successful Arab experiences, exploring investment opportunities and human resources in the digital innovation and business sector of Bahrain. The conference will focus on identifying issues involved in private Arab investments and ways to address them. The importance of the youth, women, startups, and small and medium-sized enterprises in pioneering the digital economy transformation in the Arab countries will also be discussed along with the prospects of collaboration and cooperation between entrepreneurs and investors of Bahrain and the Arab world.

The sponsors and organisers of the event include King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Union of Arab and the Bahrain Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Bahraini Ministry of Industry Commerce and Tourism, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO-ITPO), the Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (Dhaman), and the General Secretariat of the League of the Arab States.

Around 1,500 participants from across the world are going to attend the conference, including key entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, policymakers, and international business influencers.

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Bahrain to gather top Arab investors and businessmen later this year



The third edition of WEIF (World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum) and the 18th ABIC (Arab Businessmen and Investors Conference will be held in Bahrain this year.

Organised with the help of the Arab League, BCCI, UN Industrial Development Organisation, Union of Arab Chambers and The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, the conference is meant to lead the 4th industrial revolution and digital innovation in Arab countries.

The aim of the ABIC is to attract investors to start-ups and to highlight the world of entrepreneurship, by covering the challenges and opportunities that are present in the Arab world right now. The focus of the conference would be on both public and private sectors.

BBCI board member, Sonya Mohamed Abdulla Janahi commented “The 4th Industrial Revolution has made paradigm changes in the way society and businesses have been functioning and is about more than just technology-driven incremental change. It is an opportunity to help varied stakeholders, including leaders, policy-makers and the general population from all income groups and nations, to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive, human-centered future.”

1,500 participants from around the world are expected to attend the conference. In this one of a kind gathering in the region, experts from the fields of policy making, business investors, regulators, influencers and entrepreneurs will impart their knowledge to the participants.

The point of the 18th ABIC is to discuss the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution in the region, and how businesses can benefit from this new wave of entrepreneurship. The participants can learn how to solve challenges in the most effective and efficient manner when it comes to businesses and ventures.

A major event at ABIC is the Entrepreneurship Rally, a competition structured to help Arab university students pitch their business ideas and have the opportunity to convert that idea into a startup. This competition will build the self-confidence and resilience in students so that they can face any challenges that their businesses might face in the future.

As for WEIF 2019, the theme for this year is “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through Entrepreneurship & Innovation” but with a special focus on “Investing in the 4th Industrial Revolution in a Digital Economy.”

The forum will focus on innovation, investment, economic development and achieving sustainable development goals. The discussion at the forum will focus on developing countries, such as North Africa and the Middle East, and the opportunities and challenges that are present in these areas. 

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Abu Dhabi to host 100 energy startups from around the globe



The Start Up Energy Transition 100 (SET100) will demonstrate various innovative solutions to fight the causes of climate change in front of an audience of 15,000 people at The World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

100 companies from around the world will showcase their products and services to the audience that can be used to counter the impact of climate change and help to achieve a more sustainable future. SET is a global initiative that is working towards encouraging businesses to work more sustainably and protect the climate. Some of the interesting projects that will be showcased at the congress include: solar containers that can help provide energy to remote areas of Africa, a driverless electric haulage vehicle and a method to produce energy through sugarcane waste, instead of firewood. Another startup from Sweden, Einride, aims to provide transportation as a service, based on all-electric, autonomous vehicles, aka “T-pods”. Most of the technology being showcased at the gathering is aimed towards providing clean energy solutions in remote or poor areas of Africa.

Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei commented “The World Energy Congress is the event for the global energy sector to come together to discuss the greatest issues facing our industry, and the planet, so that we can identify solutions together and learn from each other.” For the first time in the history of the World Energy Congress, it was announced that the top 100 finalists of SET 2019 will be called back to play a part in 24th World Energy Congress. These finalists will have the opportunity to take part in pitching sessions and interactive presentations. Such activities will give them the opportunity to experience the workings of World Energy Congress in a very unique way.

This year, DEWA has announced to sponsor the SET Innovation Hub at World Energy Congress 2019. MD and CEO of DEWA Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said “DEWA’s sponsorship of the SET Innovation Hub at World Energy Congress 2019 is in line with its strategy to support entrepreneurs in the clean and renewable energy sector, and our efforts to support creative minds who develop effective solutions to achieve the sustainable development goals and support global efforts to mitigate climate change.” With the climate gradually deteriorating due to human actions, such initiatives help educating people and support those who are willing make a change by reducing the damage made to our precious environment.

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Dreamers Platform Has Just Completed its First Summer Camp in Dubai for the Workforce of the Future



Dubai, UAE – Dreamers, a STEP Group brand and platform dedicated to preparing children with skills needed to succeed for the jobs of tomorrow, held their first summer camp program at the American University in Dubai (AUD). The Dreamers program completed 2 modules covering future industries and technology and space exploration for children from not only Dubai, but also Abu Dhabi, aged 8 to 13, in the month of July. Being the first summer camp in Dubai to have high profile facilitators from the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, theory and practice were combined in a fun, experimental setting.

The first module, Space Exploration, covered rocket and satellite building, Earth and gravity, a mission to Mars, hosted by Dr. Adnan, R&D scientist that has worked with NASA, and more. The second module, Building the Future, covered design thinking, 3D modeling & printing, coding, robotics and automation. Khalifa Laaksonen, co-founder & COO of Hoop, a scooter startup, joined the camp to host a session on automation and the future of transportation. Rami Salman, VP of Growth at Voicea, made a guest appearance and hosted a Q&A session with the young Dreamers about entrepreneurship.

“Everyone has been talking about the talent problem in the Arab world and we decided to do something about it. Dreamers tackles this problem head-on by preparing our children and teenagers for the era and job market of automation and space exploration.” Ray Dargham, STEP Group CEO & Co Founder. During the design thinking and problem solving sessions, dreamers came up with interesting business ideas including using Virtual Reality on roller coasters to provide an immersive experience, creating adjustable features on scooters to address height issues, and building an environment for plants to grow on the Moon. Among the young dreamers, one 8 year-old aspires to be an App developer, a 12 year-old aspires to be a Space Researcher, and a 9 year-old aspires to be an Engineer.

Dreamers platform will continue to support the future workforce with the right technology and entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed for the non-traditional jobs that are now in the market with more seasonal camps and year-round in-school and after-school programs across schools in the UAE.

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Ecosystem of the MENA

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