The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and IBM, under the umbrella of the Dubai Smart City initiative, recently launched the DubaiStartupHub, an online platform on IBM Cloud to support Dubai’s technology and startup ecosystem and provide integrated services and information.
It offers a comprehensive search portal with a database and profile of Dubai-based tech startups and investors, a citywide tech event calendar, continuous updates of technology-related jobs in the city and a dedicated section for breaking news stories.
“The DubaiStartupHub, which is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Middle East and Africa region, aligns with Dubai chamber’s aim to support entrepreneurs and promote innovation, and has come as part of the chamber’s innovation strategy launched last year,” Essa Al Zaabi, senior vice-president of the Institutional Support Sector at Dubai chamber and general coordinator of Tejar Dubai, told Gulf News Journal.
The hub derives its inspiration from the success of Dubai chamber’s entrepreneurship development program Tejar Dubai, which identifies and develops the business ideas of Emirati entrepreneurs and has helped a number of budding entrepreneurs set up their own businesses successfully.
“The hub consolidates the concept of a smarter community by offering comprehensive information and services aligned to Dubai government’s strategic directions on smart cities,” Al Zaabi said. “Its priority is to connect startups, entrepreneurs, developers, venture capitalists and students to establish new connections, learn about new opportunities and create new partnerships to help accelerate innovation and stimulate the local economy.”
The hub allows the local community to interact with cloud technology in new ways, with special offers for startups to join IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, which provides mentoring, support and access to development tools and cloud resources via IBM Cloud. It also enables virtual visitors to learn about new job opportunities and local tech news; sign up for tech-focused events, classes and meet-ups; and navigate the city with a digital map that lists office locations, workspaces and more.
“Dubai chamber’s collaboration with IBM will lead to unleashing innovations while solidifying the emirate’s status as one of the leading technology hubs,” Al Zaabi said. “Thanks to this agreement, the new digital portal provides the latest information and event updates related to technology and startup while also serving as a key source for Dubai business leaders to connect and build new relationships as well as access to the latest business opportunities in the emirate.”
The hub provides a level playing field for all entrepreneurs, especially startups, to develop their ideas, monitor the competitive environment and adjust the strategic direction of their projects. This is also in line with the government’s directives to ensure the success of entrepreneurs and the public-private sector partnership in the country as entrepreneurs have an important role in shaping the economic future of the country.
Al Zaabi said entrepreneurship is the backbone of the UAE’s economic framework. The country has been ranked 19th in the Global Entrepreneurship Index Report 2016, moving up one spot from last year. Up to 95 percent of enterprises in Dubai are small and medium enterprises, which contribute 40 percent of GDP and employ 42 percent of the workforce. This phenomenon creates a perfect venue for startups to set up a business and to explore new and promising markets in the region and the world over.
“Being a global center for trade and finance, Dubai offers access to over two billion consumers in the region and beyond,” Al Zaabi said. “The emirate is also a major re-export hub to the GCC countries and an East-meets-West destination for startups to set base here and operate out of Dubai. The emirate is indeed an incubator for startups wanting to enter the world of business and the DubaiStartupHub will directly support the budding entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.”