Dubai takes centre stage this week as it hosts one of the world’s largest start-up showcase, Expand North Star. With more than 1,800 startups hailing from over 100 countries, backed by a roster of 1,000 investors overseeing an astounding $1trillion in assets, the event shines a spotlight on Dubai’s growing significance in the global tech landscape.
Organized by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, Expand North Star unfolds from 15 to 18 October 15 2023 at Dubai Harbour, setting the stage for a convergence of innovation, investment and entrepreneurial talent.
Among the announcements at Expand North Star is the unveiling of Launchpad Dubai. Presented by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, this platform is designed to streamline the setup process for global tech companies looking to establish their presence in Dubai.
It offers a centralised solution, simplifying access to essential services such as visa applications, banking, judicial services, housing, talent acquisition, and more, all within a single platform. The initiative aims to attract tech giants and startups alike, bolstering Dubai’s position as a global digital hub.
National Digital Talent Incubator
In parallel, Emirates NBD, a prominent banking group in the region, has partnered with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to introduce the National Digital Talent Incubator programme.
This venture-building initiative, facilitated by DIFC Launchpad, focuses on nurturing local talent and fostering entrepreneurship within the fintech and digital innovation space.
Supported by industry leaders including Visa, Microsoft and Dell Technologies, the programme empowers UAE national founders and members of fintech startups, providing them with mentorship, access to essential networks, and the opportunity to gain insights from venture-building and innovation experts.
Miguel Rio Tinto, group chief digital and information officer, Emirates NBD said: “Most incubator programs around the world focus only on driving product innovation. Emirates NBD’s National Digital Talent Incubator program stands out as it has been designed to enable participants to broaden their skillset, network and influence, to better understand key trends shaping the economy and create businesses that significantly impact the local and global economy.
“We are providing participants with a toolkit to translate their ideas into impactful innovations and the support to grow them to scale.”
Also announced at Expand North Star 2023, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) has forged a strategic partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Star Venture programme.
The strategic alliance opens a fast-track avenue for innovative businesses to establish and flourish in the UAE market whilst assisting the MBRIF’s members in expanding into emerging markets in Europe.
Fatima Al Naqbi, chief innovation officer at the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry’s representative at MBRIF, said: “The new partnership accelerates the growth of promising startups, and opens the door to global expansion for a new generation of entrepreneurs in the UAE.
“It also facilitates forging into new markets for those wishing to come from Europe to explore growth opportunities from the UAE, which has become a regional business hub and a gateway into regional markets.”
Expand North Star
Expand North Star takes its place as a pivotal part of GITEX GLOBAL. Together, these events offer a platform for a global dialogue on cutting-edge technology, including AI, the cloud, Web 3.0, and a sustainable digital economy.
Expand North Star 2023 also features themed sub-events like Fintech Surge, the Future Blockchain Summit, and Marketing Mania, targeting specific sectors within the tech industry. The grand finale is the Supernova Challenge, a prestigious pitch competition offering a substantial prize fund of US$200,000, further adding to the event’s allure.