Liberalization of investment and licensing procedure as well as easing of entry-level processes for new businesses is helping the region’s startup movement. This has further gained momentum as the second round of the AIM Startup roadshows kicked off this week in Kuwait. The roadshow will also extend to Oman and Egypt – that is expected to see a number of new startup companies enter the final round of the region-wide pitch competition to select the best startups.

Any startup with a good cause and a business plan could vie for the final showdown at the AIM Startup 2018 Annual event, where startups will meet with international venture capitalists, angel investors and government officials and have various opportunities namely Pitch Competitions, Mentoring Sessions, Workshops, Meeting Room and Full Day Conference by the industry experts.

The three roadshows take place following a series of pitch competitions held earlier in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – where 25 startups were selected for the grand finale to be held at the AIM Startup event at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 9-11, 2018.

Five top startups will be selected from each of the pitch competitions in Kuwait, Oman and Egypt – who will then enter into the final round of the competition to attract funding and vie for the coveted prizes of up to USD 50,000.

Startups in Kuwait will compete at the Kuwait Roadshow and Pitch Competition on the premises of Cubicle Services – the Host Partner of the competition – on January 25, 2018 to qualify for the final round.

Startups in Oman are also gearing up for the Oman Pitch Competition to be hosted by Host Partner SAS Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Knowledge Oasis in Muscat on January 28.

Egypt’s young entrepreneurs will compete at the Egypt Roadshow and Pitch Competition at the Creative Hub – Host Partners of the event – on February 19, & 20, 2018.

The selected MENA startups will then have the opportunity to come to Dubai and participate at the annual event.

“The economic landscape of the Arab World is changing fast. From smart homes to paperless digital payment processes to drones replacing home delivery vehicles to the launch of flying taxis – we are going through an exciting phase in the digital transformation of services. These transformations will be led by the start-ups that will shape our lives. AIM Startup has generated a huge amount of interest amongst hundreds of start-up companies in the region who are lining up in big numbers at the AIM Start-up roadshows and pitch competitions to showcase their project to the funding communities and other stakeholders,” said Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO, AIM Startup.

With the theme – Technology for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth – the second edition of AIM Startup has been aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy, AIM Startup brings tech-entrepreneurs closer to investors, venture capital funds and mentors, to help new technology-driven solutions and companies start up and grow.

“As we enter the final phase of the region-wide roadshows and pitch competitions, we see tremendous amount of energy and interest among the young entrepreneurs,” said Haifa Bedrawi, Project Manager, AIM Startup.

AIM Startup runs concurrently with the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) – the world’s leading platform for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in emerging markets, which is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The platform is aimed at facilitating strategic networking and promoting investment.

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