As part of Sweden’s participation at Expo2020, Startup Sweden has created a Market Access programme targeting tech scaleups globally. The programme, which is now open for applications, will select 20 female founders who are interested in and want to execute on their market entry strategy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

By ELIN HAMMARBERG

“We want to increase awareness around the market as well as give an understanding of its possibilities. Expo2020 is all about collaboration and knowledge sharing and I’m very excited that we have the opportunity to work with both Swedish founders and international ones for this program,” said Dawn Nordenblank, project manager for the initiative at Startup Sweden.

The entrepreneurs will receive market intelligence, coaching from local experts, an introduction to the local startup ecosystem, investor connections, meetings with prospective clients and partners as well as the opportunity to network at the largest tech event in the region, GITEX Technology Show.

A thriving tech ecosystem with enabling Digital Transformation policies

In the MENA region approximately $1.8trillion is spent on services, goods, transport per annum – and only 2% of that is online. Investment in MENA is at an all-time high with 2020 seeing a new record of $1bn invested in startups, despite a worldwide pandemic. The region has a combined population of a staggering 578 million people, out of which 50% are under the age of 25 and a GDP of $3.6 trillion. The UAE in particular is on an aggressive timeline to transform itself into a knowledge-based nation. The Oxford Business Group reported that internet users in the UAE spent over seven hours online each day on all devices placing the country at number ten globally in terms of usage.

 

“Digitalisation across industries is gaining momentum especially within e-commerce, fintech, healthcare and logistics. We have chosen to run the progra,em in Dubai as it is known as a great entry point. With the UAE’s 10 million residents, composed mainly of expats, it is a sizable test market, prior to rolling out your growth strategies in the region,” explained Nordenblank.

 

The program is targeted specifically to female founders holding a significant ownership stake of their business, with a scalable and innovative tech-enabled product. It is currently open for applications and will run from 17-21 of October in Dubai, hosted together with Startup Sweden’s partners Swedish Institute and Astrolabs.

Cover photo by Julie Kwak on Unsplash

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