First in the Entrepreneurial Series - “Swimming with the Sharks”
Panel Discussion and Workshop

ARISE UAE of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, launched its first event “Swimming with the Sharks”, aiming to increase resilience in the entrepreneurial ecosystem while reducing risks and navigating opportunities. His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Entrepreneurship and SMEs was the guest of honour. H.E started his opening speech by highlighting the importance of resilience, as the year 2020 has taught us, and the vitality of startups and SMEs in impacting our way of lives whether in health care, shopping, and education; while how the VC landscape managed to flourish in light of COVID-19.

“I think investors and policymakers have come to realise that supporting this ecosystem is extremely vital,” said Dr Al Falasi.

The night continued with an interactive panel discussion aimed at redefining investments in startups, preparing entrepreneurs to meet their sharks and voicing out improvements to regulators. The panel was moderated by Zeina Abou Chaaban, an ARISE UAE board member and founder of the social fashion enterprise, Palestyle. The discussion hosted six panelists: three venture capital firms (Global Ventures, Arbor Ventures and 5 Class Global) & three startups (El Grocer, Real Pilates and Ziina).

The event ended with a live pitching session for startups from the audience in front of the events’ sharks, the three venture capital firms. Six startups took part in this unique opportunity and presented their businesses to the sharks in 170 seconds only, followed by feedback from the VCs.

When asking the organisers of the event, the Entrepreneurial Committee of ARISE UAE lead by board members, Helen Chen, Founder & CEO at Nomad, and Zeina Abou Chaaban, Founder of Palestyle, about future events they told us “ARISE UAE will be organizing more events in this series to highlight other players in the ecosystem and discuss improvements than can take this thriving ecosystem to the next deeper level”.

Read more about His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi’s key points here.