Dubai Internet City (DIC) concluded two days of hosting the STEP Conference held on its premises. The event, which saw more than 6,000 visitors, including professionals, startups, entrepreneurs and students visiting the Dubai Internet City community, brought together over 300 speakers from across the technology ecosystem. STEP, which comprised four different conference streams running in parallel, took place across different venues in the DIC community as well as American University in Dubai’s campus, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy and experience DIC’s community offering.
Ammar Al Malik, Executive Director DIC, opening the event alongside Elias Bou Saab, Executive Vice President, American University in Dubai and Ray Dargham, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of STEP Group, said: “The collaboration between STEP and DIC is a natural fit for us, as we share the same vision: to bring together talent, agile entrepreneurs and seasoned technology experts to facilitate innovation and unleash the creativity of our vibrant communities. Eighteen years ago, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum laid the foundations for what today is the biggest technology community in the Middle East. We are continuing our efforts to further support this growth, by creating a world-class talent hub and enabling the next generation of entrepreneurs to contribute to innovation globally.”
Stressing the need for collaboration with the education sector, Elias Bou agreed, saying: “the demands on the global workforce today are changing rapidly and we need to adapt and reform our education system in line with these needs. The idea of bringing entrepreneurial spirit and drive into the classroom through collaborations with STEP and DIC is a great one, and we will need much more of this type of engagement to make the next generation fit for the future.”
Research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests that indeed the need for talent continues to grow, finding that spending on ICT in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach $230 billion (AED 844.1 billion) this year, with a year on year increase of 2.7 percent. As the tech start-up environment in the region continues to grow, STEP, which started off as a start-up venture itself, has gained in relevance and grown exponentially since its inception six years ago.
‘We are proud to see the startup ecosystem in the MENA region innovating and evolving. Our region has many inspiring ideas and the knowhow to compete globally. STEP Conference aims to bring together amazing ideas with investors to enable them to come to fruition,” said Ray Dargham.
Now and then, entrepreneurs and start-ups continue to be at the heart of STEP: presenting a real-life showcase of DIC’s vibrant ecosystem, in5 Dubai, the enabling platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups, hosted ten start-ups at the event, showcasing at wide variety of companies nurtured to their next stage of growth from fintech over ecommerce to real estate.
Start-ups included WakeCap Tech, a technology driven company aimed at improving construction safety and productivity through technology, Money Nanny Personal Budget Advisor, a one stop app based solution to become more financially savvy and Airshoppers, an online platform that enables shoppers to tap into traveller networks to get their favourite and unique items from all over the world without travelling.
Additional start-ups present at STEP through in5 included The Influencer Technologies, ReportCard Technologies, mrUsta Solutions, AtCash, WeAreVR, Hopo Homes Technologies and Booklava Ventures.