STEP goes global in 2020
STEP Conference, the leading technology festival for emerging markets, has launched its 9th edition under the theme of “the World in Dubai” to be held on February 11th and 12th in partnership with Dubai Internet City (DIC) and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). STEP 2020 is expecting to attract over 8000 international attendees, 300 showcasing startups, and influential tech leaders and speakers discussing the latest topics and trends across key industries.
This year, programming will represent a world scope on technology in the emerging markets, featuring the latest innovations and highlighting the opportunities in the ecosystem. The event will take place at Dubai Internet City with a format of 4 main conference verticals: STEP Start, STEP Digital, STEP X, & STEP Money.
Ray Dargham, CEO of STEP said: “I am very excited to launch STEP for its 9th consecutive year. We have witnessed the development of what started as a conference for entrepreneurs in the Arab world and the Middle East to grow exponentially in becoming a global STEP Conference in Dubai, attracting top speakers, startups, and influential investors from all over the world and specifically from the emerging markets across Asia and Africa. As we enter a new era for STEP next year, in line with Expo 2020 and Vision 2021, we plan to attract entrepreneurs, startups, and tech companies that could potentially expand to Dubai and impact our business and talent landscape. This could not have been done without our partnership with Dubai Internet City and newly signed collaboration with the Dubai Tourism as our Destination Partner.
Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City said, “Supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem is key to our mission in driving talent, innovation and economic growth in the region. Through our continued partnership with STEP, we are confident that together we can provide the right platform for knowledge sharing and expertise exchange, creating the ideal environment for creativity and growth. As a comprehensive tech community, we aim to bring state-of-the-art initiatives and strategies to build the next generation of start-ups. As our ecosystem develops, we look forward to seeing more local success stories coming out of our communities and graduating with global recognition.”
Issam Kazim, CEO – Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing said: “We are pleased to partner with STEP this year and excited to welcome international visitors to attend the conference and experience the city. Dubai is increasingly putting a strong focus on developing a vibrant and empowering ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs, with stakeholders across the public and private sectors collaborating to support their efforts to grow, innovate and become vital contributors to our economic growth. STEP offers the ideal platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups to bring forward the latest technologies and innovations and will cement the emirate’s position as a leading technology hub for start-ups looking to progress and succeed in their fields.”
STEP 2020 will feature talks and panels featuring leaders with global insights and experience launching and growing a range of companies including Jeff Hoffman, the successful entrepreneur and CEO who built Priceline and acquired Booking.com among other travel companies; Charles Schreger, the former HBO Executive responsible for programming sales in key markets including the MENA region; Vinodh Bhat, the co-founder and President of Saavn, a consumer technology company that is the largest digital music/audio service for South Asians globally and Joel Ayala, co-founder of Class 5 Global who have made several investments in startups like Careem and startups across Latin America and Asia; Amit Chaudhary, the co-Founder of Lenskart from India; Daumantas Dvilinskas, who already founded several companies and is currently heading TransferGo, a high-growth purely-digital global money transfer service based in the United Kingdom; Ben Harburg, Managing Partner of MSA Capital from China; Marite Silava, an expert in banking and fintech industries from Sweden, and Erica Kerner, Senior Advisor at ONE Championship in Singapore amongst others.
STEP has also confirmed programs with key stakeholders who will host activities within STEP Conference 2020, including Startupnight hosted by DubaiSME, bringing 60 startups from Europe across different sectors on a Dubai roadshow leading to a competition; and the Volkswagen Mobility Challenge, which is returning for the second edition presenting innovations and ideas aimed at changing the world of mobility.
STEP will also be back with a program of satellite events for curated networking, the annual startup pitch competition, Mentor’s Corner and Investor Meetings for 1-on-1 sessions with experts.