Tech summit to put Sharjah on the map for entrepreneurs tackling sustainability

The Mena Innovation Technology Transfer Summit will connect over 5,000 participants globally

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Nasa scientists, entrepreneurs, health advocates, ministers of state, mobility experts and urban planners from around the world will discuss sustainable development over the next decade at the Mena Innovation Technology Transfer Summit on Tuesday.

Organised by the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park), the first edition of the MITT Summit is a marathon online conference spanning 14 hours.

"Our aim is to position the UAE, specifically Sharjah, as a foremost regional hub for technology transfer and development," Hussain Al Mahmoudi, chief executive of SRTI Park, told The National a day before the event.

In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the programme is divided into six themes: water technology, renewable energy, environmental technology, digitisation, industrial design and mobility and smart cities.

Some of the topics that will dominate the MITT Summit include how the pivot towards digitisation and online engagement during the pandemic will change our physical world. The event also looks at how to address a growing digital divide, why humans should go to Mars and achieving gender parity in technology.

Applications of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, agri-tech, 3D printing and healthcare technologies are also on the agenda, according to Mr Al Mahmoudi.

“Agri-tech is a big topic in the region … we are trying to ensure food security through using new technologies," he said.

Sharjah’s economy, the third largest in the UAE, is expected to benefit from overall growth in the UAE economy.

In January, Sharjah was rated among the world's top 10 fastest-growing urban areas in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Attracting foreign investment across sectors is a key priority of the Sharjah government as it cuts its reliance on oil revenues and continues to diversify its economy.
The summit aims to present Sharjah as a destination for global start-ups, investors and established technology companies, said Mr Al Mahmoudi.

“We have all the prerequisites for a flourishing start-up community. There are 22 universities adjacent [to SRTI Park]. Our immediate community includes more than 45,000 students and over 2,000 PhD candidates of over 100 nationalities,” said Mr Mahmoudi.

Hussain Al Mahmoudi, chief executive of SRTI Park. Courtesy SRTIP
Hussain Al Mahmoudi, chief executive of SRTI Park. Courtesy SRTIP

“We are quite cheaper when you compare us with other global destinations for start-ups. Our government is also very supportive, there are easily available funds and hassle-free connectivity to ports and airports … differentiating us from many other big cities,” he added.

The event will bring together more than 70 speakers and 5,000 participants, including global investors, government and private sector representatives and other stakeholders from over 100 countries.


Besides the conference, the MITT Summit Awards will recognise organisations, start-ups and non-profits that promote innovative technology and create positive impacts in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Winners will receive prizes that include grants, access to accelerator programmes and business residency at the SRTI Park.