Expand North Star 2023 focuses on AI and global startups

by MMC
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Bringing together more than 400 AI-powered startups, Expand North Star (ENS) 2023 cemented its status as the world’s largest startup event. The ENS took place at Dubai Port from October 15-18, coinciding with GITEX Global, which was held at the Dubai World Trade Center.

AI and startups

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time, but it was the release of ChatGPT in November 2022 that catapulted it into the mainstream. According to estimates, generative AI, in particular, could generate up to $4.4 trillion in value across various industries.

At the heart of the AI ​​boom is the bustling startup scene. A third-quarter report from startup data platform MAGNiTT noted that the Middle East and North Africa leads the world in venture financing. From July to September this year, MENA raised $250 million across 78 deals. This represents an increase of 32 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates lead the region in terms of capital raised. The two countries saw funding increases of 172 percent and 55 percent, respectively, quarter-over-quarter.

India, Africa and Asia in the spotlight

Indian startups were notably in the spotlight during Expe North Star 2023, the event hosting the largest gathering of Indian startups outside their country of origin. At ENS, successful Indian entrepreneurs discussed the steps to establishing a presence in the Arab world’s second-largest economy.

According to a panel of experts, startups should aim for a base revenue of at least $50 million before embarking on global expansion. They further highlighted the need to determine product-market fit, understand local contexts and adapt strategies accordingly.

Read: Dubai unleashes innovation and entrepreneurship at Expand North Star

Besides India, Africa was also in the spotlight at the ENS. DWTC, through its subsidiary KAOUN International, unveiled GITEX AFRICA. This highlights the continent’s growing importance in the global technology landscape, particularly in the areas of digital health, agritech and smart manufacturing.

The African startup environment has a vast market of 1.4 billion potential consumers.

ENS has also focused heavily on Asia. Speakers at a roundtable highlighted that Asian countries’ challenges create great opportunities, particularly in areas such as education, infrastructure and healthcare.

Better regulation

As countries witness the rapid evolution of the AI ​​sector, Expand North Star 2023 also highlighted the regulatory challenge of balancing public trust, innovation and local competitiveness.

In a single session, His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Working Applications, shared one of the UAE’s efforts to solve this problem. Recently, the UAE government partnered with the University of Oxford to train civil servants in AI governance, systems auditing and its practical applications.

Furthermore, Al Olama stressed the need to adapt regulations to the needs of each country. Nonetheless, he clarified that there should be an established basis for regulating AI.

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