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Market Access Success Story Shifts Online With 56% Match Rate A total of nine startups have successfully matched with three giant corporations in the UAE in the fourth cycle of Dubai Startup Hub's Market Access Program.

By Megha Merani

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A total of nine startups have successfully matched with three giant corporations in the UAE in the fourth cycle of Dubai Startup Hub's Market Access Program.

The latest edition of program achieved a 56% match rate –a higher percentage than industry standards and its previous cohorts– even while being facilitated entirely online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Launched in 2017, Market Access is a first-of-its-kind program that helps innovative startups meet and secure deals with leading companies and government entities in Dubai.

Two out of five startup candidates matched with Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company Sumitomo Corporation, and 50% of startups that pitched their solutions to multinational professional services company Accenture were selected to pursue further discussions for potential collaboration. Meanwhile, 80% of founders who presented their ideas to Emirates NBD, the leading banking group in the region, have made it to the next round of meetings with the corporation.

"Wow, what a well-organized and run program," Carolyn Manyapye, Founder of Emerge Consulting, said in a statement following the selection process. "I pray that we make [Dubai Startup Hub] proud and are successful with Emirates NBD. I most certainly will be looking out for more programs."

As part of the Market Access business advisory and training journey, founders received recorded feedback on their pitch decks and one-page summary submissions as well as live reviews over video calls with a business trainer as they went through multiple rounds of revisions, feedback and mock presentation sessions to be able to accurately and clearly introduce their company, their proposal, and their collaborative ask to the corporate partners.

"Starting the program, we didn't have a pitch deck as a company," Morgan Eldred, Co-Founder of Digital Energy, said. "The program really challenged us to get down what we had in our brains and what we have been struggling to do in over three years into a one-pager and a pitch deck that was very succinct and to the point."

Based on a survey during selection day, all (100%) of founders said participating in Market Access has been valuable for their business development and growth. Additionally, 93% of founders said they believe that their business pitch has improved after participating in Market Access and 88% agreed that they now feel more confident and equipped to approach corporate clients.

All corporate representatives attested that Market Access has been effective in providing them access to startups in comparison to other channels and that the program has provided them with broad insight into the startup ecosystem.

For the partnerships to be successful, Natalia Sycheva, Manager of Entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber, said both the corporate and the startup need to do their homework to understand each other's languages and working style.

"They need to have the right players around the table to do the translation job, which is where Market Access comes in to help," she explained. "This training program is a first-of-its-kind, innovative model that takes into account the exceptional circumstances we are in and how to enhance the capabilities and skills of the entrepreneurs and startups to sustain and grow in such situations. It also demonstrates the pioneering role of Dubai Chamber in providing innovative support for entrepreneurs in uncertain times rather than stopping these services."

Dubai Startup Hub has taken its entire schedule of events online to support new members as well as continue delivery of all its programs and activities digitally.

The move is in line with its business continuity measures and commitments towards fostering entrepreneurship in the Emirate following the COVID-19 outbreak. The digital initiatives are also geared toward helping startups sustain and grow despite challenging market conditions as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Dubai Startup Hub's Market Access network has also been helping startups secure new introductions to businesses during the crisis. For example, Dubai-Based startup InstaPract saw its telehealth solutions being immediately adopted by a major hospital in the UAE following a meaningful conversation facilitated by Dubai Startup Hub.

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce launched Dubai Startup Hub in 2016 as an online platform for startups, entrepreneurs, developers, venture capitalists and students, enabling them to learn about new opportunities and create new partnerships that stimulate economic growth.

To learn more about Market Access and apply as a startup or corporate, click here.

This article was originally published on Dubai Startup Hub and has been reposted on Entrepreneur Middle East based on a mutual agreement between the websites.

Related: Rethinking Business: A Look At How Some Enterprises In Dubai Are Transforming Themselves In Response To the COVID-19 Pandemic

Megha Merani

Independent Journalist

Megha Merani is an independent journalist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her stories have made headlines across a number of publications including Reuters, Associated Press, Entrepreneur Middle EastBloomberg Middle East, Arabian Gulf Business Insight, Arabian Business, and former local daily 7DAYS.

Megha also produces editorial for government platforms including the World Government Summit and World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils. She has been a grant winner of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Global Initiative Against Organized Crime funded by the government of Norway to report on the online trade in illegal wildlife.

Megha is also an Associate Fellow (AFHEA) at Murdoch University in Dubai and leads its Digital Newsroom course unit. In addition, Megha serves as a United Nations Women mentor to support equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and supports various other programs including TIE Women, 60 Day Startups, and the Watt Inc. Business Incubator.


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