Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival: More than 100 start-ups to pitch business ideas

The in-person event will be held on December 17-18 at Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park

The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival seeks to drive positive change in the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Photo: Sheraa
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More than 100 start-ups will pitch their business ideas to leading investors during Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF 2022) on December 17 and 18.

Organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa), the sixth such event will be held under the theme 'Where we belong'.

At the in-person, two-day event, which will be held at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, the Sheraa team will provide the platform for start-ups to pitch to potential investors, including Shorooq Ventures, Crescent Enterprises Ventures, Emirates Development Bank and Dtech Ventures.

This process will enable participants to gain the knowledge and expertise to develop and steer their businesses “towards success, utilising the wealth of real-life experience of participating investors and funders”, Sheraa said in a statement.

Sheraa, which means “to sail” in Arabic, is Sharjah’s initiative to build a start-up ecosystem in the emirate.

Gulf countries are investing in growing an entrepreneurship ecosystem as they look to diversify their economies and fuel post-pandemic growth.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, regional start-ups keep booming as they attract financing to support their operations.

Total financing from venture capital funds in the Middle East surged 132 per cent to almost $2 billion last year, with the total number of deals up 5 per cent to 410, according to data platform Magnitt.

Sheraa will also organise a pitch competition in partnership with Sharjah Business Women Council, Sharjah Media City, and Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, in which 15 start-ups will get a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

The shortlist for the competition will include the top-three businesses competing in the women-led start-up track, the creative and media track, the tourism track and the six best companies in the tech start-up track.

“The competing start-ups will additionally have an opportunity to win a cash prize to fast track their success through Sheraa’s direct support, access and introductions to investors and potential partners as well as many more perks,” the statement said.

The start-ups will be shortlisted on the basis of innovative solutions and technology in their respective markets, overall originality, the ability to present a viable and scalable business model, and the potential impact the product or service could have in the market.

The start-up must be incorporated in the UAE and be able to attend and pitch their ideas in person at SEF 2022.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 2:32 PM