Gitex Global helps break the glass ceiling for female entrepreneurs

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Dubai Chamber of Commerce stand at Gitex Global 2022.

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor / Sajjad Ahmad, Deputy Business Editor

Gitex Global 2022, the world’s largest tech and start-up event, shone a spotlight on some of the world’s most innovative female tech entrepreneurs. Throughout the week, female-led start-ups raised new funding while women business leaders explored the use of emerging technologies to close the female start-up funding gap.

The Dubai Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE Dubai) hosted the MENA finals of the TiE Women pitch competition at North Star Dubai, part of Gitex Global, to further empower female entrepreneurs.

Alizar Tawil, the founder of online hijab clothing company, Ruuq, won the competition and received $25,000 in equity-free cash from e& capital — the investment pillar of e&. Runner-up Hafsa Qadeer, the founder of ImInclusive, a digital hub designed to connect people of determination to inclusive jobs, received $10,000 from NB Ventures. This year’s MENA regional competitions saw over 200 applications from women-led businesses from 15 countries.

All five MENA finalists had the opportunity to participate in investor meetings with e& capital and Wamda as well as access to the Gitex Investor Lounge at North Star and will receive subsidised business license setup at Dubai-based tech hub in5.

Ashish Panjabi, President of TiE Dubai, hoped that the competition set a precedent for more events to highlight the outstanding women-led enterprises in the region.

SBWC supports entrepreneurs:

The Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) continued its support for women entrepreneurs at North Star Dubai 2022, the world’s largest start-up event. SBWC has been the official partner for the “Women in Tech” category for North Star for the past five years and sponsored the $10,000 prize for the best female-led start-up.

Innovations by eight of SBWC’s innovative members attracted global companies, suppliers and investors, who explored partnership opportunities to drive forward their projects to new levels of success. Additionally, the selected members participated in the “Supernova Challenge”, a $200,000 pitch competition organised in cooperation with the world’s third-largest fund for financing SMEs.

Bahrain’s Playbook, a network platform for women, won the SBWC-backed Supernova Challenger Fast Female Founder Award. Founder and CEO Wafa Alobaidat said, “Winning this award means so much to us because it sets an example for women that shows it is possible to build a tech company, raise investment and grow. Tech is a boys’ club. So, thriving in this space is a privilege and honour. Our next steps are scaling, scaling and scaling.”

The first-ever Global DevSlam saw the launch of a global community-based investment club that aims to fund female-led projects focusing on the environment. Thousand Faces is a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO) impact fund that uses eco-friendly NFTs to invest in four major areas, including female founders, educational programs in Web3, green initiatives such as carbon offsets and conservation projects and non-profit organisations.  

Full female founder teams receive only 2.2% of worldwide VC funds; new technologies such as AI, Web3 and DAOs can open doors to more diverse groups and create inclusive, collaborative platforms for communities.

Speaking at the launch, Moojan Asghari, Founder and CEO of Thousand Faces, said, “We are releasing 1,000 NFTs from our bank of 10,000 NFTs today and we are inviting applications. Any project and early-stage start-up anywhere in the world initiated by a female founder or a strong ESG impact can apply.”  

New digital initiatives: Dubai Chamber of Commerce, one of three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, is showcased new digital initiatives and projects in the pipeline that are designed to enhance its services, improve ease of doing business and foster the adoption of innovative technologies within the business community.

At the Dubai Government pavilion, the Chamber’s stand featured practical information about the 50 services that the Chambers offers the business community in Dubai, which include membership, certificates of origin, attestation, research, reports and studies, mediation, credit rating reports and mediation, well as other valuable resources which can be accessed through digital channels.

Saif Al Hattawi, Executive Director of Digital and Commercial Services at Dubai Chamber of Commerce, said that digital transformation remains a key focus of the Chamber’s strategy as 100% of its core services are now offered through digital channels, which have made processes more efficient and convenient.

InfraX-Digital DEWA: Rashid Alahmedi, Chief Operating Officer at InfraX – Digital DEWA said,” At Gitex, Digital DEWA, displayed a range of ground-breaking solutions to revolutionise the future of digital services. It showcased its most prominent digital and innovative projects and services that have made it a global example of developing and implementing the highest standards and practices of excellence in all its activities and operational processes. The highlights included the following themes –Future Smart & Sustainable Cities and Metaverse.”

He added, “InfraX is the digital arm of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and at GITEX, we have presenting our latest technologies, products and services that support the digital transformation journey and DEWA and enable the transformation of society, enterprise, public and private sector.”

Rashid Alahmedi said, “Throughout Gitex this year we gained more exposure, and networked with many people who are interested about our products and services and give more exposure to being the new licensed operator of the IoT networks In the UAE. We also discussed with our partners and system integrators to promote the smart city use cases and application that will help to transform the UAE to being the smartest nation in the world and help them in their operational and day to day activities.”

He concluded, “We have always adapted the latest technologies and trends and this year some of our latest solutions brought to focus IoT use cases (live demonstrations) related to air, water and land. InfraX is also collaborating with government and private entities to highlight the importance of Fiber Sensing.”

Top tech robot launched:  It is easy to get lost in the plethora of tech products and solutions launched at the biggest technology event in the world, Gitex Global held recently at the Dubai World Trade Center. But one of the things that stood out is a tiny robot that measures just about 22 cm in height and weighs around 2kgs.

Called Miko, this robotic companion for kids is revolutionising child development by harnessing deep-learning AI and advanced emotional intelligence capabilities that deliver personalized and engaging learning experiences.

It supports different formats of engagement such as games, audiovisual content, conversational content, HRI (Human-Robot Interactions), gesture-based content, role-playing games, among many other advanced features.

 “With Miko 3, kids can explore thousands of playful learning experiences spanning coding, yoga, games and more. Miko can deliver any content far better than any screen-based media that are available to kids and parents today,“ said Sneh Vaswani, co-founder and CEO, Miko.

 According to Vaswani, Miko 3 robot leverages machine learning to provide an interactive, emotional experience for kids.  “Our team is also developing experiences where kids, for example, can co-create art or even co-write music with Miko 3. This is the first step in our goal of helping Miko develop emotions in the same way that humans do. This is the next stage of personalized experiences that can have a tremendous positive impact on the social, mental and physical well-being of children,” he added.

With the Middle East and Africa toy market expected to reach Dhs30 billion in 2027, Miko, through its partnership with Exertis Mena, its exclusive partners in the region, is making a big push to capture a sizable portion of the market with the launch of its latest Miko robot in Dubai.

Its expansion in this part of the world is part of its strategic global growth plans, having also launched recently in Europe, China and Australia. Just this month, Miko also announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Square Off, a startup known for AI-driven automated board games.

Miko robots and Square Off smart board games will soon communicate, with Miko robots taking on the role of instructors that teach children to play chess and other board games. The acquisition is the latest in a string of bold strategic moves from Miko. Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with Paramount Consumer Products. In August, Miko 3 became the first kids’ robot to launch an official Disney app. Miko was the only Asian startup to participate in the 2021 Disney Accelerator.

Vaswani sees the evolution of AI towards more advanced stages of consciousness will lead to an era of co-creation in society, between robots and humans. “When this happens, AI will blend seamlessly into our world, and we’ll be able to achieve bigger goals together. Our vision at Miko is to help every child experience the magic of AI. If we accomplish this, it will level the playing field for education and tech access. There’s no denying the positive impact that this would have on our world.,” he continued.

With Miko, kids are getting the best of technology — the emotional bond, the fun, the playful learning and the all-around interaction – that will help them grow into well-rounded individuals that will shape the future of the technology and the world, for the better,” he ended.

Riverbed presents portfolios: Riverbed,  an American information technology company has participated in Gitex Global 2022  with the theme ‘Illuminate, Accelerate and Empower Every Digital Experience’.

The company offered visitors the opportunity to learn how Riverbed is evolving all parts of its Alluvio Unified Observability and Acceleration portfolios to address the needs of today’s hybrid organisations, helping to deliver seamless digital experiences and enterprise performance.

Mena Migally, Regional Vice President, META at Riverbed said,” At Gitex this year, we have showcased two industry leading product lines – Alluvio by Riverbed, our Unified Observability portfolio and Riverbed Acceleration. These portfolios represent the logical evolution of our company which this year has celebrated its 20-year anniversary.”

He added, “Our Unified Observability software portfolio has been designed to provide IT with a unified view to see through massive complexity and transform data into actionable insights across the entire digital ecosystem. The Alluvio portfolio includes our industry-leading visibility tools for network performance management (NPM), IT Infrastructure Monitoring (ITIM) and Digital Experience Management (DEM), which encompasses application performance management (APM) and End User Experience Monitoring (EUEM), that are available today and used by thousands of organizations across the world. We have also showcased our newly launched cloud-native, SaaS-delivered Unified Observability service, Alluvio IQ.”

Migally added,“We witnessed a very good response to our for our products during the exhibition. The event gives us an opportunity to engage with customers, partners, and prospects from all across the region. We presented our objectives to the attendees on the rapidly growing Unified Observability segment which is set to be a $19billion market, and how Riverbed’s industry leading solution is complimented by our established Riverbed Acceleration portfolio.”

He concluded,“Our regional strategy is aligned with our company vision and our focus has been directed at building on the incredible momentum we have established in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region.”

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