Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystem pillars came together at the Westin Mina Al Seyahi in Dubai, UAE on November 22, 2015 for the second annual Enterprise Agility Forum presented by du, which featured some of the region’s most prominent leaders sharing their insights with the 200 attendees of the half-day conference.
The Enterprise Agility Forum, the fifth event staged under the Entrepreneur Industry Intel banner, began with opening remarks by Entrepreneur Middle East Editor-in-Chief Fida Chaaban, and was co-moderated by her and Entrepreneur Middle East Managing Editor Aby Sam Thomas.
Chaaban addressed the assembly first by discussing the importance of pulling in the outliers of MENA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and encouraging the forum’s attendees to be as interactive as possible in the half-day knowledge-exchange, not just through networking, but also with real-time social media.
Two fireside chat format conversations, the voices of entrepreneurship, were held to respectively deeper explore investments and business models. The first of these took place with Ramez Mohamed, CEO of Flat6Labs, who pointed out the importance of entrepreneurs really having an accurate idea of their local competition, and on startups structuring business models that have the potential to scale across the region and beyond. The second fireside chat took place with Sonia Weymuller, co-founder of VentureSouq. Weymuller, who spoke on angel investing in the region, explained what entrepreneurs need to know when trying to capitalize on this particular funding opportunity. Both fireside chats were followed by question and answer segments with the audience.
The first of the Talking Series brought forward ideas under the title of Size Doesn’t Matter: Your small enterprise can operate like a multinational, which had as its panelists Chris Bartlett, General Manager, Small, Midmarket Solutions and Partners, Middle East and Africa for the Microsoft Corporation, Talal El- Khalil, General Manager and Senior Vice President, PepsiCo MENA, Frida Kleimert Knibbs, Head of Channel and Commercial Sales for Cisco UAE, and Jose Valles, Vice President- Enterprise, Commerce, New Business and Innovation, du.
The second discussion for the day brought forward tenets of CSR versus social entrepreneurship, and how even startups can undertake sustainable initiatives. Under the title of Seeing the Bigger Picture: CSR, social enterprise and your business, the panel was headlined by Lina Hourani, Director of Al Ahli Holding Group CSR division, Loulou Khazen Baz, founder and CEO of Nabbesh, Joshua Rajkumar, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, The Sustainability Platform, and Soushiant Zanganehpour, founder and Director, Tribeca Impact Partners.
The third and final panel of the event revolved around financial literary, funding and strategic steps toward seeking capital injections under the title of Calculating Trajectory: Capital injection routes to (viably) scale your enterprise with panelists Marwan Mohammed Al-Suwaidi, Director of Finance, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Sam Quawasmi, co-founder and Managing Director, Eureeca, and Essa Ali Bin Salem Al Zaabi, Senior Vice President of Support Services, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The 2015 Enterprise Agility Forum presented by du was conducted with the support of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Tejar Dubai, together with Platinum Allies Egyptian Steel, EPG Hotels & Resorts, AxiTrader, Gold Allies Medeor Hospital and Skyline University College, Silver Ally Select Property Group, and Ecosystem Allies Wamda, MEC, and The Venture.