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Expo 2020 Dubai, Wamda host entrepreneurship summit

Expo 2020 Dubai joined forces with Wamda to host a summit bringing together businesses of all sizes to identify opportunities for collaboration and growth.

The Collaborative Entrepreneurship Summit saw presence of more than 400 representatives from multinationals, corporations and startups.

The aim of the Summit was to explore the potential of Collaborative Entrepreneurship (CE) – an idea that seeks to nurture greater synergies between established corporations and startups to create meaningful partnerships that unleash value and enable growth; making a positive impact on the regional economy that lasts beyond 2020.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, Director General of Bureau Expo Dubai 2020, said: “Today, we aim to create dozens of new networking opportunities between corporate executives and startups, and to gain a clear understanding of how Collaborative Entrepreneurship can help scale-up smaller businesses and re-energise and ‘re-innovate’ larger ones. By bringing the concept of Collaborative Entrepreneurship to the region, we are clearly demonstrating just how powerful Expo 2020 Dubai can be in convening diverse audiences to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.”

Research lead by Expo 2020 Dubai and Wamda illustrates how Collaborative Entrepreneurship can play a critical role in addressing Mena’s economic and employment needs.

The report, based on interviews with over 120 executives and experts, and a survey of over 700 entrepreneurs in the region, found that collaboration between corporations and startups provides mutual benefits including innovation capability and cultural change for corporations, and scaling potential and market credibility for startups.

The report is available on a dedicated website, Coentrepreneurship.com, launched by Expo 2020 Dubai and Wamda to share insights and experiences with those who want to learn more about Collaborative Entrepreneurship.

Attendees at the Summit heard from international and regional business leaders about successful collaborations between startups and large corporates. Business leaders were equipped with practical tools to adapt Collaborative Entrepreneurship into their business strategies through workshops, hands-on training sessions and presentations.

Marjan Faraidooni, Vice President of Legacy at Expo 2020 Dubai, commenting on the Summit, said: “The Mena region is home to an entrepreneurship movement that is paving the way for diverse, oil-independent economic development; making it an important driver for job creation and youth empowerment. This Summit is a chance to initiate collaboration and spark mutually beneficial relationships. By serving as a platform to nurture meaningful collaborations between people and organisations, Expo aims to generate new opportunities that will create a legacy that lasts well beyond 2020.”

Whilst corporations can help startups to scale and spread their services and technologies, startups can, in return, help their corporate partners adapt to new business models and opportunities. Collaborative Entrepreneurship seeks to provide an opportunity for these organisations to work together and understand how they can benefit from each other’s expertise.

Commenting on the vital role that startups play in spurring economic diversification and growth, Habib Haddad, Wamda’s Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Startups are leaders in innovation and are taking on some of the region’s greatest challenges. Many large corporations are only beginning to grapple with the rising influence of these agile businesses. Startups can leverage the resources of large companies to scale rapidly, and large companies can tap the innovative potential and flexibility of startups to obtain access to new markets and technologies, as well as skills.”

“The Collaborative Entrepreneurship initiative is a natural continuation of Wamda’s work as the leading entrepreneurship platform in Mena. It also comes at the right time as startups from the region are flourishing and attracting serious international and regional investments. The initiative offers the private sector a direct channel to engage with startups while offering them opportunities to scale.”

The Summit complements Expo 2020 Dubai’s ongoing BusinessConnect programme, a platform to engage the business community in dialogue, and the sharing of expertise as Dubai prepares to host the landmark mega-event. Since the inaugural BusinessConnect last September, Expo 2020 Dubai has hosted a wide-ranging series of workshops that have covered topics relevant to the regional business community, including sessions last month on major event operations.