By Rafiq Vayani
DUBAI: Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, today hosted the Tech Mix conference, which put the spotlight on innovative circular economy, energy and smart transport solutions presented by UAE and Italian startups.
The event, organised by Roland Berger in cooperation with Intesa Sanpaolo, was held at Dubai Chamber’s premises and promoted knowledge sharing and collaboration between startup communities in the UAE and Italy.
The conference was attended by H.E. Liborio Stellino, Italian Ambassador to the UAE, representatives from Roland Berger Middle East, Intesa Sanpaolo, Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, Google, Dark Matter, Hyperloop, Careem, and members of the local business community.
In his welcome speech, H.E. Liborio Stellino, Italian Ambassador to the UAE, praised the strong state of UAE-Italy relations and noted that Italian companies are well-represented in various economic sectors in the UAE and involved in the country’s infrastructure projects. He revealed that Italy’s exports to the UAE amounted to EUR 5.4 billion in the last three years, and said there is huge capacity to boost Italy’s re-exports to the country.
H.E. Stellino described the Tech Mix conference as accelerator for future collaboration between Italy and the UAE and stresses his commitment to expanding cooperation to create a brighter future for both countries.
H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, stressed importance of hosting the conference as it serves as an ideal platform for the business community in Dubai to learn about the latest smart technologies and solutions that high-potential startups are bringing to market.
Dubai is keen to strengthen its position as a global innovation hub and knowledge-based economy, said H.E. Al Ghurair, adding that the emirate’s strategy to attract innovative startups from around the world supports this vision.
In addition, H.E. Al Ghurair noted that Dubai is making considerable headway in adopting smart transport solutions as it aims to become one of the smartest cities in the world by 2021. He added that the UAE and Italian businesses can benefit by expanding their cooperation in this area, and work towards joint ventures that support the development of a sustainable and circular economy.
Kushal Shah, Head of Digital for Middle East and Asia at Roland Berger, said: “As the GCC transitions towards knowledge-based economies embracing technology, the innovative spirit of the region was on full display at our recently concluded Tech Mix. Reflecting our collective commitment to accelerating the growth of the tech innovation system, it was heartening to see so many experts under one roof sharing their insight and experience on pertinent topics including one high on Roland Berger’s agenda, a sustainable circular economy.”
Maurizio Montagnese, Chairman of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, said: “In a forward-looking way, the UAE has strongly diversified their economy, focusing significant resources on innovation -a determining factor to compete in increasingly complex and globalised markets- with a particular attention to the circular economy, a key factor for the sustainable development of the planet. For this reason, we have chosen to carefully monitor this dynamic area to sustain the best Italian companies, including the most promising startups.”
The conference concluded with a pitching contest where 10 startups from the UAE and Italy presented their business ideas, technologies and solutions specialising in smart transport, circular economy and energy. Participating startups included Enerbrain, GreenRail, U-earth, Energica Motors, Wimo, Volt Lines, Junkbot, Store2Door, Friendycar and Arcab.
Dubai Chamber launched Dubai Startup Hub in 2016 as an online platform to connect startups, entrepreneurs, developers, venture capitalists and students, enabling them to learn about new opportunities and create new partnerships that stimulate economic growth.