10 October events for MENA entrepreneurs

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As the MENA region’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem blossoms and grows, so do the events, conferences, and competitions. And as any mentor will advise, attending events is key to helping you boost your business and your network. With that, here is our list of events we’re heading to or will be watching. We advise you do the same.

Arabnet Kuwait
When: October 4-5
Where: Kuwait

This event will focus on social media innovation and integration, trends and opportunities in fintech, and how to better support entrepreneurship in Kuwait. Some of the biggest names in the region, and particularly in the GCC, will be in attendance. The event will include an ideathon competition, startup demo competition, and a techfair. Be sure to check out a talk by Wamda’s own Reine Farhat, senior editor at Wamda and content lead at Nuwait.

Startup Istanbul
When: October 6-10
Where: Turkey

For two days, the event will gather 100 selected startups in Istanbul to be mentored and trained by mostly US and Europe-based experts. Throughout the event, startups will be narrowed down to a final 15, who will pitch on the final day. The event will be peppered with talks by regional and global stakeholders, including Matt Spence, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Adora Cheung, partner at Y Combinator, Mark Little, VP at Twitter, Arjun Arora, partner at 500 Startups and Fares Ghandour, partner at Wamda Capital. The event promises to be one of the biggest gathering of startups, investors, VCs and tech executives from over 40 countries in Eurasia.

M Powered
When: October 9-10
Where: Dubai

The M Powered Summit is one of few of its kind that link entrepreneurship with culture. Focused on highlighting innovation around an Islamic economy, the summit hopes to “showcase a brand of innovative, creative and entrepreneurial community ... empowering Dubai as the centre of Islamic economy.”

Nu8.1 Pitching Edition
When: October 11
Where: Kuwait

Kuwait's National Fund for SME Development and Wamda are coming together to gather 30 entrepreneurs, mentors and industry experts to pitch their startups, compete and network. The event will entail a one-hour pitching contest where the winner wins a ticket to Wamda's Mix N’ Mentor Dubai in December. The event will include lightning talks and a networking session.

Innovation for Impact
When: October 11-12
Where: Dubai

Like M Powered, the second edition of the Innovation for Impact Competition hopes to shed light on Islamic digital economy entrepreneurs. The winner of the competition win a cash prize, gain global publicity, in-kind prizes, and free office space for one year at the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Center. The event is organised by the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis, the integrated free zone technology park and Thomson Reuters.

NDC Hackathon
When: October 14-15
Where: Dubai

This hackathon caters to a more specified industry: travel. With 28 hours to code and simultaneously attend workshops, this event hopes to disrupt leisure and business travel experiences. For more information on how the aviation industry is a new frontier for MENA startups, check out Wamda’s Q&A with Abrar Ahmad, partner at an investment firm focused on growing travel companies.

GITEX Technology Week
When: October 16-20
Where: Dubai

Focused on ICT, GITEX Tech Week will ensure you’re up to date on the latest technology coming out the region. Featuring a series of live demonstrations on how technology can be used to transform the way you do business, the conference is key for companies at all stages and in any industry. And if you needed more motivation to attend, the conference notes “ICT spending in the MENA region is set to hit 150bn by 2017.”


When: October 19
Where: Istanbul

Dubbed Turkey’s most influential internet conference, Webrazzi brings together local and regional experts on internet and digital markets, startups, investments, and technological developments. In 2015, Webrazzi Summit hosted around 2,000 attendees from all around the world.

Global Women in STEM Conference and Awards
When: October 25-26
Where: Dubai

Accomplished and recognized women in STEM will gather here to discuss how women are participating in the evolving world of technology and science. This is the third edition of this event and women across industries will speak including Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, chairman and board member for Es’hailSat, and Alaina Percival, CEO of Women Who Code.

Seedstars World
When: October 13, 20, 29
Where: Beirut, Istanbul, Algiers

These competitions are where seed-stage startups pitch, attend discussions, and network, network, network. The winner of the competition wins a flight ticket to attend to the Seedstars Summit.

More details on all listed events can be found here. Are we missing any? Leave us a comment below.

Feature Image via Pexel

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