DIC matchmake entrepreneurs and investors
Rushika Bhatia

DIC matchmake entrepreneurs and investors

As announced in last month’s issue of SME Advisor, DIC are bringing their DemoCamp to budding entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts. With an overwhelming application response, the event, being held on the 27th April, promises to be an eventful evening.

DIC matchmake entrepreneurs and investors

Entrepreneurship is no longer just about a few geeks getting together, a laptop and a good business concept. In the Middle East, this community has grown over the years mainly because with a total population of almost 300 million in the region, two-thirds fall in the under-30 age group.

These young entrepreneurs have a lot of unanswered questions including: Where do we start? or where do we find investors? These questions are fundamentally relevant to take any idea to its next level in business.

Currently forums to talk about entrepreneurship are lacking, and most essentially platforms to display their innovations are not always available. However, this challenge can serve as an advantage for the young business individuals in the region. With a high percentage of the population constituting youth, entrepreneurship is set to take the region to its next level of growth. But with this, young innovators face challenges such as lack of family support, lack of proper business mentoring and most importantly lack of initial investment.

As one of the most successful ICT clusters in the region, Dubai Internet City has always taken various initiatives to support entrepreneurs especially SMEs. Providing the right platform in the form of events and workshops has helped budding entrepreneurs interact with investors and venture capitalists from an early stage. Many of them have also been encouraged and influenced by industry mentors at such gatherings.

Malek Al Malek, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone, both members of TECOM Investments’ Information and Communications Technology Cluster, said: “Most of the large global brands have established their presence in the Middle East to tap the potential of the region that has become a hotspot for investors and VCs. There is truly an abundance of talent and the right environment to incubate ideas in the country. They just need direction and support to grow their idea into a successful business proposition.”

One of the most successful events conducted by DIC is DemoCamp, which is modelled on the DEMO conference being organised in the US for more than a decade. It is a gathering of venture capitalists and corporate high-tech investors to watch demonstrators present their efforts.

The first of the four-part series of DemoCamp in 2011 will be held on 27th April.

James Oliver, Sales and Marketing Manager at The Question Company, and a participant from the last DemoCamp held in Dubai, said: “Events like DemoCamp are vital, especially in this region to raise the spirit of entrepreneurship and widen awareness. It offers a platform to present their ideas to the VCs and the local media in order to obtain finance and get vital exposure. This is why events such as DemoCamp help connect the two and make young entrepreneurs realise the availability of financial support should they need to launch the business in the region.”

The Middle East’s young population is an added advantage. In spite of being present in an emerging market, the region, especially the UAE, is being viewed as a fertile ground for breeding young talent. In addition, investors and global players are keen to invest in the market, providing additional opportunities to budding men or women entrepreneurs.

Simon Nestel, CEO of Keychain Desktop, another participant, believes that DemoCamp is a perfect platform to demonstrate next generation technology to an audience of aspiring Emirati and expatriate youth who believe their destiny is the creation of the next Facebook or Twitter.

DIC has already received interesting submissions from young innovators for the upcoming DemoCamp on 27th April. These enthusiasts will address a group of investors with the hope of attracting potential investment to crystallise their ideas.

Dubai Internet City (DIC) DemoCamp

Date:      27th April

Time:     5.00pm-8.00pm

Venue:   American University in Dubai (AUD)