Best places for entrepreneurs to network in Dubai
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

Best places for entrepreneurs to network in Dubai

Here's where to meet the right people to grow your business effectively.

The season has begun. For all you entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-to-be out there — now is the time to pull up your sleeve and up your networking game. Whether you're looking for business partners, co-founders, mentors, investors, or others to help you grow your business, following are some of the best places to build connections and gain insights in the market:

1. Trade shows

The mega annual tech event, GITEX, is around the corner, and so are many other trade shows that take place at the World Trade Centre and other locations across the city.

Do your due diligence when researching the trade shows — know when they are taking places, check out their history, find out the speakers and businesses who will be present there and form your game plan to connect with them.

2. Networking events organised by the government

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and other government bodies regularly hold networking events all year round, with increased frequency in the cooler months.

Moreover, their respective subsidiaries, such as Dubai Startup Hub and Dtech also regularly hold networking events. Dubai Startup Hub, for example, recently launched their 10-week networking series that will take place until November.

3. Conferences and seminars

The other great place to learn something, as well as meet like-minded individuals, are seminars, conferences and other learning events that take place in Area 2071 in Emirates Towers, Astrolabs in their new Al Quoz location.

If you keep an eye on the events section in the newspapers, ticketing platforms such as Eventbrite, or even subscribe to email newsletters by event companies or hubs that organise these events, such as Youth Hub, Dubai Startup Hub, and Step Group, you have a fair chance of keeping up-to-date with what’s happening around the city.

4. Meetup groups

This might seem like an odd one, however, Meetup has a number of business groups that meet on a regular basis. Not only that, but they also have groups that meet to discuss blockchain, crypto assets, and even investments.

They also have co-working groups such as ‘Ladies Working Together’ whereby women from around Dubai meet on particular days and times to network, work together, learn something new from speakers, and more. It’s a supportive environment that sees many female entrepreneurs and freelancers come together and share their knowledge. They now also have their own website and social channels, but they did get started from being a Meetup group.

5. Co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators

This is one of the best places to meet like-minded people and build your connections. You can also learn a lot from fellow entrepreneurs and widen your horizons. The chances of meeting investors might be slim, but that is the case in most places.

The idea for networking at these places is not only to go in with a ‘get what I want’ mindset to find investors or other entrepreneurs. Networking is about knowing what’s happening in the market, gauging what investors are interested in, helping people connect with whom you might know, and overall building a supportive culture.

You never know who you might meet and whom they could connect you to. While having a game plan in many of these trade shows is a great idea, it is also important to be open and go with the flow at times.