Startups Without Borders held the hybrid edition of its annual Startups Without Borders Summit last December 11th and 12th in a hybrid online-offline format streamed LIVE from two main stages in Rome, at LVenture Hub, and Cairo, at the American University in Cairo through their startup accelerator AUC V-Lab, simultaneously.
By WESAM OSAMA
With the theme “Reconnect the dots,” the summit brought together key players in the tech space, valiant founders, and international investors to reconnect the dots. The summit, hosted in partnership with Meta, UNDP Egypt, Edventures, ZOHO, and AUC V-Lab, achieved a record of 1,063 online participants, 107 speakers, 59 sessions, and 6,568 live views.
“Last year, as the Covid19 pandemic shook the world, we all suddenly saw ourselves as refugees in our own homes. So we decided that this year, it was time to reconnect the dots. To match the otherworldly innovations of entrepreneurs in unlikely places with the new frontiers tech companies are bringing to life. The metaverse, blockchain, AI, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies are not only reshaping the global economy, but also opening up new spaces where talent can flourish, no matter what passport they have,” says Valentina Primo, Founder and CEO of Startups Without Borders.
From the future of crypto, to the road to 2030, the summit discussed five main tracks featuring industry powerhouses across talks, panels, and workshops, from key players in Europe, the USA, and the Middle East. The event had a thrilling agenda, with sessions in English and Arabic happening simultaneously, featuring leading figures in the innovation scene.
“The SWB summit is growing in size and reach and this year strongly aligns with UNDP Egypt priorities themes “The Road to 2030” and “Capital with New Eyes”. Only a few years are left on the road to realizing the universally agreed Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. To finance the SDGs, capital with new eyes, the changing ways of large and small companies, and the inventiveness of green, social, and profitable startups, must all be mobilized,” says Sylvain Merlen, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Egypt.
Among the featured speakers were Stephen Ibaraki, Founder of AI for good, Amal Dokhan, Partner at 500 Global MENA, Sheraz Ahmed, Head of Business at Crypto Valley, and Riad Hartani, author of Tech Nomads of the Universe.
Alongside talks and panels with all-star speakers, the event hosted exciting activities, including a masterclass for Creative Economy Entrepreneurs in diaspora, in partnership with Meta, and the EdTech Demo Day where startups pitched to international VC, in partnership with EdVentures.
The Investors Room applicants received quality one-on-one time with investors matched specifically to them, from leading Angel Investment Networks in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
“We were delighted to have our VC as the EdTech partner with SWB Summit and highly commended their efforts to make it happen with more than 1 thousand attendees from different countries. We have connected with new startups through the event and EdTech demo day and we are looking forward to participate in the upcoming SWB Summits,” says Maged Harby, General Manager of EdVentures.
The summit was also the launchpad for Startups Without Borders Chapters, which offers young changemakers around the world the opportunity to launch their own chapter and build a diverse startup ecosystem in their community.
One of the most exciting features of the summit was the Startup World Cup Europe-MENA Connect, a global competition taking place across 60+ countries, where top entrepreneurs pitch for a chance to get $1,000,000 at the finals, in Silicon Valley in 2022. Ten startups, out of 45, got the chance to pitch their ideas, and the winner was Volee, an Estonia-based startup, that is a community platform founded by a Russian migrant.
Read the report on the 2021 Startups Without Borders Summit here.