By Entrepreneur Staff/ Entrepreneur ME - Image Credit: ArabNet
With a call to Kuwait’s entrepreneurs to come together to “Digitize Kuwait,” ArabNet is set to kick off the second edition of ArabNet Kuwait conference on October 17-18, 2017 at Arraya Ballroom in Kuwait. As the country navigates through what is a transformative time for its economy, and as it increases focus on entrepreneurship, ArabNet Kuwait offers a platform for stakeholders to discuss trends and developments across three major tracks- Adtech, Investment & Innovation, and Digital Commerce. While professionals can learn more about best practices for content creation, the conference also features investors highlighting investment strategies, and discusses fintech and banking innovation, among a full day of keynote talks, panels and presentations.
Among a few key components to watch out for at ArabNet Kuwait 2017 is the TechFair, an exhibition that brings together regional and global companies to showcase their products and explore business opportunities amid the presence of delegates cutting across sectors. Further, if you are an innovator developing a web or mobile-based idea, or a startup founded less than two years ago, ArabNet Kuwait wants to hear from you. ArabNet’s Ideathon competition will help entrepreneurs turn ideas into business, and the Startup Battle challenge offers selected startups a chance to pitch their business to investors.
Three top winners of Startup Battle will then fly to Dubai for ArabNet Digital Summit 2018, to compete at the Startup Championship, where top startups from each participating country compete at a regional level. Sheikha Al Zain Al Sabah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs- Kuwait (a strong advocate of entrepreneurship), Fadi Ghandour, Executive Chairman of Wamda Group and founder of Aramex, and Abdullah Al Mutawa, co-founder and CEO, Carriage are a few speakers you can expect to hear from at ArabNet Kuwait 2017.
To help better understand what you, as an aspiring entrepreneur, can gain from the conference, we spoke to Abdulla Alkhenji, co-founder, Meddy, a platform connecting patients and doctors, and Athbi Alenzi, co-founder of on-demand laundry app JustClean(previously Masbagti)- both winners of the Startup Battle competition at ArabNet Kuwait in 2016. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say about the team’s experiences at ArabNet:
What were your key takeaways from taking part in Startup Battle at ArabNet Kuwait 2016?
Abdulla Alkhenji: The championship gives startups a lot of exposure to the media, investors, potential partners, and most importantly, investors. The championship is also a good way for entrepreneurs to work on their pitches, and modify them for the audience that they are presenting to. This also helps the entrepreneurs in fining their idea, and focus, and allow them to grasp the bigger picture of the startups.
Athbi Alenzi: I think it was a great experience. It was the first-of-its-kind for us, so I believe it really helped us with understanding on how to pitch, and the confidence to pitch our startup at any level, and gave us a great understanding on what is needed to get investors attention in terms of what should be presented.
How was the entire ArabNet Kuwait experience for you last year- the networking, the exhibitions, and on stage presentations etc.?
Athbi Alenzi: We met so many great people at Arabnet in Kuwait, and then at Arabnet Dubai- people that I am still connected strongly with, and that offer great help in different experiences. For the exhibitions, it was very interesting to see how all the other startups were doing, and hearing their stories, and seeing how they do things and what struggles they face. For the onstage presentation, it felt great to be able to stand on stage, and show all the hard work we did, and the results from that hard work to so many experienced and important people form the industry and the market.
What would you say was the one biggest way in which your startup's growth changed post ArabNet Kuwait 2016?
Abdulla Alkhenji: ArabNet is one of the biggest, and most targeted to tech startups. Meddy participated in Lebanon, Kuwait, and the finale in Dubai. We met with a lot of investors, and other potential partners working in the same industry, and we are still in talks with most of them regarding future collaboration and funding opportunities.
Athbi Alenzi: Well, we were very fortune to have received a massive investment from Faith Capital based in Kuwait; our company has gone from just me and my co-founder brother running the company from a car, to having a great experienced team of over 25 members. We now have a full customer care team marketing team sales team and all technology done in house we are now growing at a much faster rate, and we plan to expand our operations in to neighboring GCC countries by the start of 2018. So, it has been a great year since we attended ArabNet Kuwait last October and we have come a very long way since.