AstroLabs and the Italian Trade Agency host a cross-emerging market demo day and showcase at AstroLabs Academy Campus

AstroLabs and the Italian Trade Agency host a cross-emerging market demo day and showcase at AstroLabs Academy Campus

  • To commemorate the closing of the UAE edition of the Global Startup Program, AstroLabs, and the Italian Trade Agency hosted a demo day and showcase at AstroLabs Academy Campus. 
  • The showcase crowned the 2-month market entry program designed by AstroLabs to mentor, direct, and consult the delegation of technology-driven Italian startups, which also included critical network-building opportunities with key industry enablers, including Flat6Labs, DMCC, and Gitex Global 2022.
  • The showcase hosted panel discussions with the participation of the Dubai Future Foundation Fund, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, and Gellify, along with 12 Italian startups operating in AI& Data, foodtech, medtech, and e-commerce, as well as in the green and circular economy.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 23, 2022, AstroLabs and the Italian Trade Agency, the government agency which promotes the globalization of Italian firms under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted a cross-emerging market showcase bridging the entrepreneurial communities in Italy and the UAE. The first-of-its-kind pitch and panel event was organized to crown the completion of the 2nd edition of the Global Startup Program in the UAE, which took place at the AstroLabs spaces in Dubai over the last two months. 

The Global Startup Program, promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, organized by ITA, and designed by AstroLabs, brought together 12 technology and sustainability-driven startups from the Italian entrepreneurial fleet to ground their knowledge of the UAE market. This initiative comes at unprecedented growth for the UAE VC and digital ecosystems. The UAE remains one of the most funded startup spaces across MENA, along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt. 

Ambassador of Italy Lorenzo Fanara, inaugurating the final Demo Day, said: “Italy has a long tradition of producing outstanding innovation, and the UAE is one of the best environments for companies to grow and develop. The Global Startup Program in Dubai is the perfect way to foster business relationships between our countries in some of the most innovative sectors of our economies, from energy to fintech, and it will be mutually beneficial for startups and investors alike”.   

The demo day embodied the spirit of opening up emerging markets for cross-pollination, elevating global competition in the UAE, and allowing for the accelerated exchange of knowledge and technology. The event hosted 12 elevator pitches by Italian startups operating in AI & Data, Foodtech, Medtech, e-commerce, and, most importantly, green and circular economy. The future-forward startups were able to introduce world-class technologies and offerings to an audience of investors, entrepreneurs, and founders as part of their market entry strategy into the UAE and across MENA over the coming years.

Roland Daher, CEO of AstroLabs, added, “Our vision for MENA does not only build on our initiatives to enhance the local entrepreneurial markets and accelerate the growth of our technology industries but it is also supported by a range of exciting private/public initiatives that are setting the framework for the future. Entry programs such as this one accelerate our leapfrog into a global open innovation front, and the support of the Italian government in immersing its startups in the local infrastructure is exemplary. The UAE, in fact, remains one of the top launchpads for these emerging businesses to scale into MENA and beyond successfully.”

AstroLabs has tailored this global market entry program to strengthen the technical, organizational, and financial abilities of the participating startups maneuvering in various technology-driven sectors. Building towards this vision, the program entailed hands-on consultations and mentoring sessions by local market experts within the AstroLabs network. 

The 2-month calendar was also packed with a range of strategic meetups and networking events, including investor sessions with highlights by Flat6Labs on early-stage investing in the region and an exclusive visit to key government entities, including the DMCC and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, as well as the participation of the delegation in ecosystem-building events including Gitex Global 2022 and Networking Under the Stars organized by AstroLabs, NorthStar, and DMCC.

Director of ITA Dubai, Amedeo Scarpa highlighted: “The MENA region is a very attractive area for Italian companies to enter the dynamicity of the Middle Eastern market. Sectors such as tourism, trade, transport, travel, and financial services, as well as green and circular economy, will be the key engines of future growth. Our role is to improve the competitiveness of innovative Italian SMEs and startups, give them access to international exposure and enable opportunities for scaling up in the region through activating different projects such as the Global Startup Program. Furthermore, to support innovation, the Italian government recently sponsored a €1 billion investment program aimed at the native startup ecosystem to create new opportunities.”

 The venture opportunities presented in the UAE have been highly sought after in recent years, especially with GCC markets able to manage inflation rates and market fluctuations successfully compared to peer emerging markets. The demo day was headlined by an overview of the funding and technology landscapes in the UAE with a foresight of the future by a panel of industry builders moderated by Christina Andreassen, Director of Programs at AstroLabs. It included Phillip Pabst, Senior Associate of the Dubai Future Fund, Massimo Cannizzo, CEO of innovation enablers Gellify, and Maurice Tanas, the Senior Manager of Digital Economy Ecosystem & Acceleration at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. 

The Global Startup Program 

The Global Startup Program involves 120 Italian innovative startups in various technical expertise, such as AI & Data,  Food Tech, MedTech, Circular Economy, Green Economy, E-commerce, Automotive and more. The UAE is one of the 8 countries around the world that will host the startups participating in the program, in addition to France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The list of companies hosted by AstroLabs are: Clentech, Green Independence, Green Kitchen, IBC corp, Mapskin, Myndoor, Senior, Service Biotech, Threebots, Trading and Marketing, WYM, Your Emotional Sales.

About AstroLabs

AstroLabs is MENA’s trusted partner in solving the innovation challenges of tomorrow by navigating the technology landscapes of today.

With ten years of active ecosystem building, AstroLabs enables the sustainable growth of competitive local markets by expanding world-class players into the UAE & KSA and accelerating local companies to exceed global standards.  

Founded in 2013, AstroLabs partners with key industry shapers, including governmental entities, corporates & enterprises, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem to build sectors and invigorate industries. AstroLabs designs and runs market-entry and expansion services, internal & external innovation programs, and value-driven company scaling practices for SMEs, emerging businesses, and established enterprises.

AstroLabs currently operates three office and coworking spaces across the KSA & UAE to house and connect its entrepreneurial communities in partnership with the DMCC, Dubai’s number one free zone, and the Ministry of Investment in Saudi Arabia. 

About Italian Trade Agency – ITA

The Italian Trade Agency is the Government agency which promotes the globalization of Italian firms, under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ITA helps to develop, facilitate and promote Italian economic and trade relations with foreign countries, focusing on the needs of SMEs, their associations and partnerships. ITA sustains Italian firms in their internationalization process, promoting the marketing of Italian goods and services as well as the image of “Made in Italy” products around the world, while facilitating outward Italian investments and encouraging FDI attraction into Italy. ITA provides information, support and consultancy services to Italian companies on foreign markets, in order to foster exports and economic cooperation in all sectors, with the objective of increasing the effectiveness of their presence on international markets. ITA’s headquarters are based in Rome and it works through a large network of offices around the world which are acknowledged as “Trade Promotion Offices” of the Embassies or Consulates of Italy.

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