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Robust ecosystems must.

400 stakeholders in entrepreneurship development deliberate on policies.

Abdulbaset Al Janahi and tugrul Atamer addressing delegates at World entrepreneurship Forum--uAe Chapter at the Dubai International Convention Centres in Dubai on sunday. -- KT photos by Mukesh Kamal

The world needs millions of entrepreneurs for sustainable growth and that requires creation of robust entrepreneurial ecosystems to take start-ups to next level of growth on international level.

This was highlighted by industry specialists on the first day of inaugural World Entrepreneurship Forum -- UAE Chapter. It was hosted by Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.

More than 400 stakeholders in entrepreneurship development from across the region started their deliberations on policies and practices required to create robust entrepreneurial ecosystems at the forum.

The two-day forum is being attended by policy-makers, angel investors, incubator operators, mentors, SME founders/ owners/ CEOs from the Middle East along with international experts on SME development.

Speakers at the forum highlight the various aspects of the entrepreneurship ecosystem raging from angel investor networks, mentorship, women & youth entrepreneurship, incubators and accelerators. The forum will also enable regional SME agencies, academic institutions and NGOs to explore new ideas and strategies for advancing entrepreneurship to meet emerging challenges and move to the next level.

"The World Entrepreneurship Forum is serving as a virtual ecosystem and hub for various streams of discussions and platforms all connected by the vision to serve and develop entrepreneurs. All the stakeholders represented here are discussing and sharing their ideas to make the entrepreneurial ecosystem a better one. Hopefully, actions will follow to start a business project, implement a business-friendly rule, launch an initiative to encourage start-ups etc, by any stakeholder," Dubai SME chief executive officer Abdul Baset Al Janahi said in his opening remarks.

Commenting on the forum, Sami Al Qamzi, director-general of DED said he expected the Forum to evolve practical solutions to the challenges facing entrepreneurs, businesses and economies worldwide.

"Dubai and the Department of Economic Development is particularly keen to encourage collaborative efforts towards facilitating business and economic development. The World Entrepreneurship Forum is a perfect fit with our commitment and we are pleased to note Dubai is the first city in the region to host the Forum," said Al Qamzi.

The opening panel at the forum was led by Ahmed bin Byat, chairman of Dubai Holdings and Tugrul Atamer, executive chairman of the World Entrepreneurship Forum. The panel shared views on the essential elements of an entrepreneurial city and explored how Dubai and the UAE can drive entrepreneurial opportunities and identify sectors where innovations can be best applied.

Talking about Dubai success story, Byat said that there are two reasons: its leaders were open-minded and they were risk takers.

The first day of the forum also witnessed idea exchanges on mentorship that allows new entrepreneurs to be guided by experienced entrepreneurs as well as angel investor networks that provide seed/equity capital for start-ups.

The concepts of crowd funding and crowd investment, which are relatively new to the region, were also explained for the benefit of entrepreneurs seeking funds to implement their business projects and growth plans. "The World Entrepreneurship Forum aims to showcasing best entrepreneurship practices worldwide. Dubai SME's initiative to create the first UAE Chapter in Dubai is very relevant due the countless efforts of Dubai to support and encourage entrepreneurship through better infrastructure, policies and access to capital. We really look forward to listening and learning from Dubai and the UAE and sharing the inputs with entrepreneurs worldwide," said Tugrul Atamer.

"We need sustainable growth through entrepreneurship and there is also a need to create jobs through entrepreneurship. By supporting start-ups we need to turn them in scale ups," Atamer added.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Dec 9, 2013
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