x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 October 2017

Arab Youth Startup Marketplace launched

The initiative will bring young Arab entrepreneurs and investors together on one platform

Arab Youth Center (AYC), a initiative aimed at enhancing the young Arab population’s contribution to sustainable economy, has launched the inaugural Arab Youth Startup Marketplace (AYSM), an event that brings young entrepreneurs and investors together at one platform.

The three-day event launched in Dubai on Tuesday will give the startups, owned by Arab youth, an opportunity to present their businesses to private sector investors such as UAE-based private equity house Abraaj Capital and venture capital firm Wamda Capital, which is co-managed by former chief executive of Dubai-listed courier company Aramex Fadi Ghandour.

AYC, which was launched by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and minister of presidential affairs, during the 2017 world government summit, through AYSM aims to establish a platform to enhance engagement and create an ecosystem that nurtures business leadership and helps the small and medium-sized businesses get required financial backing to move to the next level of growth.

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Government sector agencies such as the Department of Economic Development Abu Dhabi and Dubai SME are also backing the event which is being attended by 80 government and private sector investors from across the Arab world. Startup firms from the UAE, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Palestine, among other Arab countries, are participating in the event, representing areas of creative economy including e-commerce, fintech, cleantech, content, learning, travel, social networking, consumer productivity and analytics.

Startups in the region have garnered a lot of attention from governments, especially in the UAE, the region’s second-largest economy, which is trying to help small businesses get off the ground as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil revenues. The number of start-up funding deals have also risen in the UAE in the first half of the year, according to the start-up online community platform Magnitt.