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Dubai Startup Landscape and Pitch Competition

Author: Raunaq Jaisinghani

Organized by Dubai Startup Hub and Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (Dtec), a wholly-owned tech startup hub by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, the competition received entries from more than 200 startups in India. 16 startups were shortlisted to pitch their businesses for an opportunity to expand their operations into Dubai.

The first ever Dubai Startup Hub roadshow to India was supported by Startup India and NASSCOM 10000 Startups, in addition to Dtec, and STEP Group. The roadshow included visits to New Delhi and Bangalore where roundtable and panel discussions were held. Success stories were shared by Indian startups that have benefited from the Dubai Startup Hub platforms and have built successful businesses in Dubai.

SUI Dubai

Two innovative startups from India won free office space and company set-up support to establish their business in Dubai at a pitch competition in both the cities. 

New Delhi-based B2B e-commerce platform for marine procurement ShipsKart claimed first place and the second-place winner was Loktra, a Bangalore-based banking operating system delivering improved banking services. Both won free office space and business set-up support at Dtec for one year.

Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement that the winning startups offer unique business concepts that meet market needs and support Dubai’s Smart City vision. Khan previously noted that Indian businesses are well represented within Dubai’s business community and that 30%of startups registered with Dubai Startup Hub members are Indian-owned. More than 38,000 Indian companies are Dubai Chamber members.

The event was graced by UAE ambassador to India, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Al Banna and in his keynote address, he spoke of the vibrant and growing relationships between UAE and India. He also added that UAE-India bilateral trade continues to soar and today it is worth US$60 billion, making India the second largest trading partner of the UAE.

He informed the audience about the Startup and Innovation Strategy formulated by UAE and said that the country is willing to create a business model out of it. He invited Indian companies to come and participate in this. He mentioned the example of two successful Emirati Startup companies which are acquired by multinational giants. First one was Careem which was acquired by Uber for $ 3.1 bn and the second one is Souq acquired by Amazon.

H.E. Dr Al Banna encouraged Indian startup companies to leverage UAE’s position as a strategic trade hub to expand their reach in new markets such as the Middle East and Sub-Saharan African markets.

The initiative also aims to identify and attract high-potential startups from India that offer cutting-edge solutions that can be adapted in the Dubai market and support the city’s strategic plans to become a global innovation hub and knowledge-based economy.

The three-day roadshow provided a platform for Indian startups to learn about Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the vast opportunities, programs and resources it has to offer.