From left: Trixie Lohmirmand, Rabih Dabboussi, Senior VP at Darkmatter, Omar Boulos, Ahmad Al Kahaja, SVP Venues management DWTC, Wesam Lootha, CEO Smart Dubai Government, George Shinichi Wakita, MD Panasonic Marketing MEA and Zaen Hamid, head of operations of Astrolabs at the press conference to announce Gitex Technology Week. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is gearing up to host the largest start-up event in the region, and the most global showcase in the world at this year’s Gitex Technology Week, taking place from October 16-20.

“It is the most game-changing edition in recent years,” said Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice-president at Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of the event.

The 36th edition of the event is primed to drive the world’s smart digital transformation, support young entrepreneurs, and enhance Dubai and the UAE’s standing as one of the foremost capitals of innovation.

Building on the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Gitex aims to shine a spotlight on Arab and international innovation and entrepreneurship through this weeklong showcase of global force, uniting young innovators from around the world to share, learn, experience and build lasting partnerships.

Across a space of over one million square feet, organisers expect over 100,000 visitors from 150 countries to take part.

Held under the theme “Re-Imagining Realities,” the event will host 4,000 exhibiting companies and showcase 230 speakers.

International participants

At the Global Startup Movement, more than 400 start-ups from 60 countries and over 1,000 entrepreneurs will gather in Dubai to sell and learn. While the UAE will be represented with 85 start-ups, 79 per cent of start-ups will hail from the rest of the world.

Over 200 investors and influential tech investment executives from Silicon Valley, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including SoftBank Group International, 500 Startups, Accel Partners, Golden Gate Ventures, Middle East Venture Partners among others will arrive in Dubai to explore, discover, evaluate and potentially fund some of the most promising start-ups with a particular eye on regional talent. The illustrious funding ventures of these investors include global giants Facebook, Dropbox and Spotify among others.

“Our aim is to create the life-changing opportunity for start-ups to meet face-to-face with legendary investors and accelerator firms, be it for funding support or advisory guidance that shall help them breakthrough in their ventures. There is great aspiration and ambition among these young creative Arab minds to change the world with their imagination,” LohMirmand said.

By bringing them closer to their fellow start-up peers from other countries, she said that some of which are successful references, this valuable sharing experience built through mutual respect and admiration will inspire their growth and infuse their innovation.

“Gitex is privileged to be an enabler to create these life-changing opportunities in their entrepreneurship journeys,” she said.

Evolving digital space

Omar Boulos, Regional Managing Director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa, which will serve as Exclusive Digital Transformation Partner, said that the digital space is evolving at a rapid pace, and organisations need to understand how they can best leverage digital technologies to support their organisations.

Accenture’s Group Chief Executive Mike Sutcliff will present a keynote, joined by speakers such as Rafael Grossmann, the first surgeon to use Google Glass during live surgery; Keith Kaplan, CEO of the The Tesla Foundation; and Silcon Valley futurist Robert Scoble.

George Riding, Chief Operating Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at SAP, said that SAP, in attendance for the fifth year and one of the start-up partners, is committed to demonstrating how real-time technology can drive Digital Economy competitiveness in line with government initiatives, enhance citizen and customer services and costs, and support the next generation of Middle East start-ups.

“Digital technology will deliver immersive and interactive visitor experiences. As the Middle East is at the forefront of adopting the latest innovations, Panasonic is committed to driving the regions smart digital future, with products and solutions, including supporting the start-up eco system, of any size or scale of projects” said Shinichi Wakita, Managing Director of Panasonic MEA.