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With its debut last year, Gitex Future Stars established itself as one of the largest global startup events in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and South Asia — and this year’s edition promises to be bigger and better.
Want to rub shoulders, network and connect with VCs from around the world? Looking to sell your tech to a pool of over 4000 buyers or maybe you simply want to check out what the latest innovations are that startups from around the world are coming up with?
Then you’ll want to attend Gitex Future Stars 2018 — which runs alongside Gitex Tech Week — and is set to take place between 14 and 17 October at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Organisers expect over 850 startups from more than 75 countries will attend the event. In addition, over 250 investors from more than 30 countries who are also expected to be at the gathering.
Admission to the four-day event is free, however those looking to attend the gathering’s three dedicated conferences on smart cities, finance and digital marketing respectively, will have to purchase tickets.
Over 50 speakers from around the world will provide more than 100 hours of content during the conferences which is set to take place over three days.
Some of the confirmed speakers include: Google’s chief decision scientist Cassie Kozyrkov, Reddit brand strategy executive Joe Federer, Johnson & Johnson global head of innovation Robert Urban, Jungle Ventures managing partner David Gowdey, Fintech Stage founder Matteo Rizzi and Shorooq Investments founding managing partner Shane Shin.
Here’s why Gitex Future Stars 2018 is going to be bigger and better:
New startup exhibition sectors
If you run a startup, Gitex Future Stars is the perfect place to showcase your offerings and to court potential investors.
Startups that register to exhibit at the event will be provided with a pod which will include marketing material, furniture, signage and branding space. In addition, registered exhibitors will also get an online exhibitor profile set up for them.
This year, Gitex Future Stars organisers have added eight new startup exhibition sectors, namely: blockchain, mobility, environmental and social impact, agritech, artificial intelligence (AI), space tech, sports tech, and women in tech.
The additions along with the existing 11 sectors make Gitex Future Stars one of the biggest startup exhibitions in the MENA region.
The 11 sectors are: robotics, consumer and retailtech, smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT), immersive tech, creative economy, education, fintech and commerce, healthcare, digital and social media, tourism and hospitality, as well as software.
Gitex Supernova Challenge
Organisers have also introduced four new categories: Best Emirati Startup, Best Social Impact, Best AI Startup and Best Creative Economy to Gitex Future Stars’ pitching competition — the GITEX Supernova Challenge.
In addition, this year 20% of the challenge participant’s scores will be decided by audience vote making this more interactive than last year’s edition.
Gitex Future Stars claims the challenge — which has a total prize pool of $180 000 across all nine categories — is the third largest pitch fund in the MENA region.
The challenge is only open to startups that will be exhibiting at the summit. Other challenge categories are: Supernova Champion, Best Arab Startup, Best International Startup, Best Youth Startup, and Best Female Led Startup.
Innovation cup competitions
Gitex Future Stars 2018 will feature at least four innovation cup competitions which will see startups compete to collaborate with leading corporates and government entities, and to win cash prizes.
If you’re considering joining an accelerator or an incubator, you’ll want to attend one of the accelerator clinics during the summit.
The clinics aim to assist startups and innovators with insights on how to get accepted into accelerators or incubators in the UAE and around the world.
In addition to this tech entrepreneurs also stand to benefit from a number of mentorship workshops which aim to connect startups with investors as well as corporate and government buyers.
Investor and corporate buyer meetings
Gitex Future Stars co-location with Gitex Technology week makes it the perfect place to meet investors and corporate buyers.
The event organisers have set up a corporate buyers programme which will connect startups with corporate and government buyers.
Startup profiles will be made available to corporate buyers via the Gitex Future Stars show app. Meetings will then be scheduled per sector and startup field of interest.
In addition, there is also a dedicated programme which allows investors to pre-arrange to meet with startups during the course of the show. Investors and corporate buyers will also hold sector-focused round table discussions where startups will be able to explore opportunities, network, discuss challenges and share best practices.
Furthermore, for those solely looking to meet investors or expand their networks. Gitex Future Stars will through speed networking meetings, randomly match startups with investors.
This article was sponsored by GITEX Future Stars.