Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 June 2019

Middle East must showcase successful startups to attract more global funding

Businesses can be a “force for good” to create new frontiers for growth

The event centred on exploring ways that businesses can become a force for good. Reem Mohammed/The National
The event centred on exploring ways that businesses can become a force for good. Reem Mohammed/The National

The Middle East and North Africa region must highlight more examples of successful startups to attract capital from global funds to the region, the co-founder of Uber's Dubai-based rival Careem said.

"There are few global funds with allocation for the Middle East," Magnus Olsson, Careem's chief experience officer, told a conference on Sunday. "There's a need to showcase more regional success stories and show that there's a lot of opportunities."

The comments came during graduate business school Insead’s gathering of industry leaders, academics and government officials in Dubai . The event centred on exploring ways that businesses can become a force for good.

Companies can do good for society and the economy by focusing on creating new markets that would lead to more job opportunities, fill a niche in market demand and benefit a wider group of people, Renée Mauborgne, Insead Professor and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Blue Ocean Shift, said.

“Why compete and take someone down when you can create a new marketplace?” she said, citing examples such as Bangladesh-based Grameen Bank’s microfinance loans to the poor that helped to alleviate poverty rather than disrupt the established traditional banking system.

This principle of “non-disruptive creation” can move a company beyond the red ocean of “bloody competition” to blue ocean of creating new opportunities to transform societies and economies, she said.

In emerging markets, businesses can use technology to meet massive market demand for services such as transport without disrupting existing industries and also do good in the process, Mr Olsson said.

“You can help leapfrog into the 21st century without disrupting because there’s so much demand,” he said.

The public sector can leverage technology to offer education for groups with little access such as refugees, the elderly or people with disabilities by enabling the private sector, providing funding and establishing the necessary legislation, Leila Hoteit, partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group, said.

Updated: February 24, 2019 06:50 PM

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