A platform approach is needed to extract the innovation potential of the Arab Region
It is no secret. Innovation is no longer a prerogative of a few big tech clusters.
The pattern we have seen in the past fifteen years in Europe has been replicating all over the world, from East Asia and Latin America to the Middle East and Africa. Several tech hubs are – finally, although slowly – popping up and producing scaleups, i.e. innovative companies able to produce revenue and employment.
The problem here is that most of these emerging tech hubs are not yet large enough to attract the attention from international investors and corporates. Looking at the Arab Region, we have 448 scaleups scattered across 19 countries (of which ~40% are based in Dubai).
To access them foreign corporations or investors will have to put in place a time consuming scouting effort, compared to taking a more effective look at countries and hotspots with higher “Scaleup Density Ratios”. We are not just referring to Silicon Valley (home of almost 7,500 scaleups) or Israel (2,000+ scaleups), but also fast growing ecosystems such as South Korea (650 scaleups, mostly in Seoul).
To deal with emerging ecosystems a platform approach is required.
For this purpose, we are particularly excited to join forces with the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) to start deploying Centers of Entrepreneurship (CoE) in the region, beginning with the one launched in October 2020 in Beirut together with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). The CoE will represent a catalizer for tracking the growth of the scaleup economy while providing a global platform for the most interesting startups to interact with the global players in the industry.
The region is ripe for change, driven by the innovation economy.
Innovation seems to be the common denominator of the several government driven programs across the region (…).
The urgency of building the cornerstones of the post-oil economy is palpable. Eclectic new smart cities projects are tangible examples of the urgent need for the region to be recognized as a test bed for a few, specific growing new industries (…). The upcoming Dubai Expo (2021) will represent another opportunity to showcase how the Arab Region is ready to play a key role in the future economy.
We look forward to supporting its growth.
Marco Marinucci, CEO, Mind the Bridge
Alberto Onetti, Chairman, Mind the Bridge