Dr. Adeeb Al-Afifi, Director of the National Program for SMEs and Projects, Ministry of Economy opened AIM Startup today. The Future Cities Show also opened today, which witnessed the presence of H.E. Abdulla Alsaleh, Undersecretary of Ministry of Economy along with Mr. Evo Morales, President of Bolivia and Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Both the shows run in conjunction with the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), which takes place from 8th to 10th April.
“AIM has started today under the theme – Harnessing Global Digitization to Empower Startups and SMEs, and in partnership for National Program for SMEs and Projects as both are the fruits of innovative ideas that help in boosting national economy. This event is a great opportunity for startups and young companies to know more about investment opportunities and close them,” said Dr. Adeeb Al-Afifi, Director of the National Program for SMEs and Projects, Ministry of Economy.
He added, “AIM Startup is a great platform to for businesses, entrepreneurs, banks and financial companies to network and connect with right individuals.”
Under the theme ‘Harnessing Global Digitization to Empower Startups and SMEs,’ AIM Startup aims to connect the country’s new generation of young entrepreneurs who are looking to run their own startup companies with potential investors and business partners from across the world.
A 2018 survey conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov Siraj showed that 71 percent of respondents below 35 would want to become entrepreneurs compared with 58 percent of those aged 35 and up who said they would consider entrepreneurship.
Walid Farghal, Director General of Strategic Marketing and Exhibitions, organizer of AIM Startup, said: “We have a number of young talents in the country who are eager and inclined to use their skills in establishing unique startups with significant socio-economic impact. AIM Startup is a platform to give them an international venue to meet and engage with investors, expand their networks, and learn and explore opportunities as they work to turn their dreams into a reality by starting their own businesses.”
The UAE, according to Mr. Farghal, is a fertile ground for startups against the backdrop of its steady economic development and numerous business incentives and support in line with Vision 2021. The UAE’s economy is predicted to expand to 3.7 percent in 2019 as per the latest estimates of the International Monetary Fund, while the government continues to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem conductive to startup organizations.
In addition to the UAE, start-up scene in Saudi was a highlight of discussion on the first day of the event. Saudi is the most promising market in the region with a lot of scopes for startups and small business enterprises. Currently, there are 950,000 SMEs in the region and it is anticipated that SMEs contribute to around 35 percent of the GDP.
While Young entrepreneurs from different parts of the world exhibited their innovations at AIM Startup, Future Cities Show focused on five leading future city solutions, namely AI, blockchain, smart infrastructure, smart mobility, and sustainability. It also provided a platform to ensure that the latest technological projects had the opportunity to secure medium- to large-scale investments.
The global market for smart city information and communications technology (ICT) is forecasted to hit the USD 994.6-billion mark by 2023 from USD 476.7 billion in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8 percent, a report by BCC research showed. The report attributed the exponential expansion to the rising number of smart cities worldwide in light of the rapid urbanization rate, booming population, and calls for sustainable development.
Participating at this year’s Future Cities Show is Esri, a global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, which offers the most powerful geospatial cloud available. Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including the world’s largest cities, most national governments, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. ESRI is positive about FDI in UAE.