With a rise in entrepreneurialism across the Middle East in full swing, 2012 is expected to see unprecedented growth in startups in the region, according to Arabnet Founder Omar Christidis. Following hard on the heels of the Arab Spring, many young people across the region have decided to take the leap and start their own ventures. The Arabnet Digital Summit 2012, to take place from 21st to 27th March, is the premier regional conference for the emerging Arab web/mobile industry.
“The recent events in the region have opened a tremendous opportunity to foster the growth of digital enterprises in the Middle Eastern market,” stated Christidis. “Despite the new challenges that have risen in the region, we consider the coming year as a chance to further empower Arab entrepreneurs and help them take ownership of their ideas. Supporting home-grown innovation and creativity is precisely what we aim to do at ArabNet and we expect this year’s summit to build on the phenomenal success of last year’s.”
The first ArabNet Digital Summit outside of Beirut was held in Cairo in October 2011 and brought together globally renowned digital experts not only to discuss the latest trends and technologies in mobile and web, but also to examine the opportunities present for aspiring digital entrepreneurs in a nation undergoing a major political revolution. “A major focus of ArabNet Cairo was tying digital tools and technologies to economic and social development. The Egyptian market presents significant prospects for the Web and mobile industries, which can in turn contribute to strengthening the economy,” said Christidis.
Earlier last year, the ArabNet Digital Summit in Beirut saw over 1,000 Arab web business leaders, investors, mentors and startups come together to harness innovation and discuss the latest trends in the industry over a period of four days. This year, ArabNet Beirut is set to take place from March 27th to 31st and promises five action-packed days of cutting-edge panel discussions, specialized workshops and focused networking sessions among other activities. Additionally, over 100 distinguished speakers will take the stage to share their extensive expertise in the field of digital.
The five day summit will be split up into four parts: two Developer Days (March 27th – 28th ), which will host technical discussions and workshops for programmers, an Industry Day (March 28th) focused on how web and mobile applications are transforming traditional industries, two Forum Days (March 29th – 30th) which will feature pitches by some of the region’s top entrepreneurs and are aimed at bringing together digital business leaders in the region to cover the latest web and mobile trends and technologies, and finally, a Community Day (March 31st) open to the public and focused on raising awareness about the power of digital.
The Digital Summit will also include ArabNet’s annual competitions: the Ideathon and Startup Demo. The Ideathon aims at turning bright ideas into functional products will introduce the top 20 entrepreneurs and startups in the region, exposing the latest in digital entrepreneurship and giving entrants the chance to win big cash prizes and the attention of investors, incubators, and developers.
“We’re looking forward to how we can cultivate the ideas of Arab entrepreneurs at the summit this year. Undoubtedly, now is the time to implement innovative ideas as the Arab web industry is set for major growth in the near future,” said Christidis.
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Rushika Bhatia Editor
Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.