Dubai Internet City Supports Startup Ecosystem at STEP Conference 2019
17 Feb 2019
Dubai Internet City (DIC) marked a successful conclusion of the STEP Conference 2019, the largest experiential tech festival in the Middle East, hosted across various venues on DIC premises. Drawing a participation of over 7,000 visitors, the two-day event included over 100 panel sessions led by renowned tech entrepreneurs, with activations running in parallel, and offered visitors the opportunity to become part of the DIC community experience.
Running from 13 to 14 February, the event featured four conference streams – STEP Start, STEP Digital, STEP X and STEP Money. One of the highlights of STEP Start was a fireside chat about the startup ecosystem in the region between Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of DIC and Dubai Outsource City (DOC), and Philip Bahoshy, Founder and CEO of MAGNiTT, an online platform that connects entrepreneurs with investors, mentors and co-founders.
Al Malik said: “DIC launched almost 20 years ago, and then we built a whole ecosystem around it. Startups today mirror similar processes, and we are more than happy to share our learnings and experience to support them on their journeys. In line with our mandate to serve as a regional technology hub, we encourage businesses of all sizes to set up at DIC, and we continue to foster entrepreneurship through our freelancer licenses and in5, our enabling platform that nurtures creative startups.”
He added: “In recent years, we have witnessed a shift towards a more entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people. Evolving to keep pace, the industry offers them a lot more opportunities when it comes to bringing their ideas to fruition.”
DIC partnered with STEP Conference for the second consecutive year, bringing together major tech players, such as Microsoft, Sage, Uber and IBM, as well as 250 startups to promote their offerings.
in5 hosted a series of workshops and one-on-one sessions that explored topics relevant to nascent companies and emerging entrepreneurs, such as legal matters related to intellectual property, business strategy and planning, financial modelling and digital marketing.
Startups and young enterprises remained the core focus of STEP. Presenting a real-life showcase of DIC’s vibrant ecosystem, in5 hosted several startups at the event, active in the fields of artificial intelligence, wellness, fashion and art. Limink, a startup incubated at in5 that seeks to disrupt the way people engage with art, won the STEP 2019 Pitch Competition.
Visitors also had the chance to participate in interactive podcasts by AMAEYA FM, the UAE’s first independent podcast network.
2018 saw a record number of 366 startups across the Middle East and North Africa region attract US$893 million (AED3.3 billion) in investments, according to MAGNiTT’s 2018 MENA Venture Investment Report. The UAE remained the most active regional startup hub with 30 per cent of all dealings taking place in the country, followed by Egypt that is currently witnessing a startup boom.