Innovators will be heading to Ras Al Khaimah in the coming week as the Emirate hosts the UAE’s first Seaside Startup Summit. Running from the 8-12 of February, the event is being held under the patronage and presence of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, and will include representatives of governmental bodies and ministers from Armenia. The summit is being jointly arranged by the Startup Armenia Foundation and Ras Al Khaimah’s Incubation and Accelerator unit.
The Startup Summit concept has been operating successfully in Armenia for several years, originally as a response to the less effective gatherings of innovators and entrepreneurs that used more traditional formats. Organized in a form of a tented camp set by the sea, the Summit engages the participants in a far more intense communal experience that ensures that mixes entrepreneurs, startups and investors in an environment that forms lasting bonds and connections – far removed from the mechanical business card swapping that happens elsewhere. Ras Al Khaimah is the first venue outside Armenia, but the programme will continue on to Goa and Singapore later in the year.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Shayeb Al-Naqbi, Director General of the Department of Economic Development (DED), said, “The RAK Seaside Summit aims to provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to demonstrate innovative business solutions, provide an opportunity to communicate with decision-makers and social networking sites, as well as compete for the opportunity to win funding. The number of visitors is expected to reach more than 1500 people from the MENA region, Europe, USA, Russia, Armenia and other countries.”
Startups representing different countries will take part in competitive battles and brand battles based on their development level and operating field. A prize fund of $50,000 is available for those that are victorious. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in matchmaking sessions with investors and make campfire pitches for funding.
Commenting on the event, Ramy Jallad, Group CEO of RAKEZ, RAK Free Trade Zone and RAK Investment Authority, said: “It is always exciting to witness startups gather under one roof, ready to pitch in their original business ideas. Their belief and passion for their concepts are truly inspirational and this is the kind of energy we want to cultivate in and outside of RAKEZ. We are truly happy to be a part of this pioneering Seaside Startup Summit in the country, which is perfectly coinciding with the UAE Innovation month. Over the years, we have shown great support to startup companies and this is just one of the many events and initiatives that we plan to take part of to promote the entrepreneurial spirit in the emirate.”
Workshops, campfire talks, brand battles and networking sessions with international mentors and industry experts are all part of the 5 day summit process, with a focus on connecting people, helping startups to learn, broaden their outlook and gain insights – all of which takes place in a fun and collaborative atmosphere.
Hakob Hakobyan, Founder of Sevan Startup Summit Armenia, said: “Sevan Startup Summit was organized for the first time in 2016 in Armenia and became one of the most significant events of Armenian startup ecosystem. This year we have enlarged the borders of the summit starting from the number of participants to the funding prize. We are very proud to contribute in organizing this event. When you are watching from outside and see how one lecture or one investment can change the whole worldview of the team, you understand how important it is to continue what you are doing and involve as many people as possible.”
The event is sponsored by Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economic Development, RAKEZ, RAK PSD, Al Marjan Island, with Ras Al Khaimah Media Office acting as a Strategic Partner and organized by Startup Armenia Foundation together with the local partner RAK Incubator and Accelerator.
Dr. Hisham Safadi, Co. Founder and CEO, RAK Incubator and Accelerator said: “RAK Seaside Startup Summit is a global event that brings together young people, entrepreneurs, innovators, experts and investors in innovation and technology to share experiences, views and best practices to support a diversified knowledge and technology industry with more than 60 emerging digital, innovative and creative companies from the Arab world, Asia and Europe.
Safadi added: “RAK Incubator and Accelerator, with the support of the Department of Economic Development and RAKEZ, aims to build a healthy system of entrepreneurship and innovation that compete with existing global systems in the region and contribute to transforming the community in Ras Al Khaimah into a ‘smart’ society.”
Through its pioneering initiatives the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah will join the list of ground-breaking cities in this arena, and the innovation index at the global level.Which is an embodiment of the UAE leadership’s vision and clear directives to transform the country into an open global laboratory for innovation.