Dubai plays host to a gathering of entrepreneurs. Image Credit: Bloomberg

The world has experienced unprecedented change in its social and economic norms during the pandemic. Businesses embraced digitization and reorganized supply chains to prepare for the post COVID-19 era. The pandemic has both revealed and accelerated a number of trends that will shape the future of the global economy.

Despite the disruptions, entrepreneurship is key and can even lead to new paths of recovery. Now is the time for entrepreneurs and businesses to emerge stronger from the pandemic. With businesses forced to close their doors as a result of the disruption, entrepreneurs must lead by example, laying the foundations of a thriving economy. The UAE itself ranked fourth globally in the Global Entrepreneurship Index 2020, and this reflects the national efforts that have intensified to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and raise its competitiveness at the global level.

The TGS Global Summit (TGS2021) is a perfect example of enticing opportunities available for entrepreneurs to navigate this new environment, to survive and flourish. Opening its doors to more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, investors, VC’s, start-ups, world leaders, and TiE Charter Members from all across the world for the first time in the UAE, the conference will showcase keynotes from different speakers, fire-side chats with experts, panel discussions, start-up pitch sessions, demo sessions on tech trends, blockchain technology, financial inclusion and innovation.

It will also cover various trending topics in the start-up ecosystem and provide entrepreneurs with a curated and intellectual space for networking. The TiE Global Summit 2021 will be the largest such conference for entrepreneurs anywhere and will focus on shining the flame on some of the biggest and successful entrepreneurs from more than 100 countries. From in-person networking, panel discussions, workshops, and clinics to pitch competition, this will be a not-to-miss event, bringing it to the most entrepreneurial city of the world - and a testament of Dubai being the Global Center for innovation.

It is paying off

For over a decade, the UAE has been prioritising digital transformation. The 2020 UAE Digital Transformation Report highlights the competitive position of the UAE, having ranked first globally in 23 indicators in vital sectors. It was also ranked among the best five countries in 59 indicators and one of the best 10 in 106. According to the 2021 MENA Venture Investment report, the MENA region in 2020 saw a record $1 billion of investment in startups, highlighting the fast-paced growth of potential startups in the region.

Every entrepreneur’s journey begins with a spark, an idea, a vision, a moment of inspiration. This spark drives the world through innovation, leadership, and progress. To navigate the new environment, entrepreneurs need to lead with demonstrated authenticity, apply exponential technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and embrace flexibility and agility to survive and flourish. Timing, communication, and proper planning is critical to survival to create new business opportunities.

A wave of launches

Despite the setbacks from the pandemic, the UAE has seen a fresh wave of female entrepreneurs who have started or plan to start their own business. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Women Entrepreneurship Report of 2018-19 shows that, despite a 40 per cent gender gap, the MENA region has the highest rates (36.6 per cent) of women’s entrepreneurial intentions with an increasing trend of younger women founding companies in countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The TiE Women initiative, for instance, challenges women entrepreneurs and startups in MENA to set their mark in the business ecosystem. Businesses, public and private entities, and other organizations are welcome to be part of this initiative and support women entrepreneurs in their journey. One in seven investments in the Arab World go into female-founded businesses, recognizing the restrictions they may face when accessing funding and financial support

Cultural shift is now the most important driver of success for entrepreneurs in the post COVID-19 era. The beliefs that drive culture will require rethinking with a new set of mindsets for renewed success. With the rapidness and numerous iterations of change, it is important for entrepreneurs and startups to embrace the new reality to be successful. In addition to cultural change, the technology-enabled transformation will also take the front seat and will be the driver to propel businesses forward successfully in 2022 and beyond.