Almost every other corporation operating in MENA engages with startups in one way or another. This is one of the exciting findings discussed in a report released by Expo 2020 Dubai® and the Wamda Research Lab (WRL).
Earlier this year, Expo 2020 Dubai announced its partnership with Wamda, aimed at bringing corporate executives and the region's brightest entrepreneurs together. Expo 2020 Dubai is fostering collaboration and innovation, as depicted by their theme Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. Its partnership with Wamda as the leading entrepreneurship platform in the Middle East and North Africa has been devised to support startups, SMEs, corporations and investors that boost the knowledge economy , form mutual beneficial business partnerships, create a wealth of opportunities for all and create a legacy beyond 2020.
The Collaborative Entrepreneurship initiative by Expo 2020 Dubai and Wamda seeks to create win-win situations for both established, well-known corporations, and innovative, scalable startups.
This need for strategic collaboration is illustrated by another finding of the WRL report: despite the high share of corporations' support for startups throughout the Middle East, only 14 percent follow a strategic approach - compared to 24 percent in Southeast Asia and 50 percent in the US.
Download full report from here.
The collaborative approach is strategic, long-term and resource-intensive, while the CSR-driven approach confines the role played by corporations to sponsorship of entrepreneurship focused events, and stand-alone contributions such as SME discounts and occasional mentorship.
Not too long ago CSR would have been a valuable source of support for a nascent entrepreneurship ecosystem. However, much has changed over the last five years. The number of co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators has witnessed a four-fold upsurge, the report found.
The infographic below highlights this, as well as other findings by Wamda’s research team.
As part of their initiative, Expo 2020 Dubai and Wamda will soon release an in-depth study on corporate-startup collaborations that will include results of interviews with more than 120 business leaders and a survey conducted amongst over 700 startups in the Middle East region.
In May 2016, leading figures and decision makers from some of the region’s most influential corporations, along with members of the entrepreneurial community, will be invited to attend the official launch of Collaborative Entrepreneurship initiative at the Summit. An online platform and accompanying toolkit will provide advice and guidance for newly created corporate startup partnerships, access to global best practices, and case studies whilst regularly monitoring the offering’s impact on job creation and the UAE economy.
Download report from here.