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Microsoft for Startups Middle East today announced it has opened a second round of applications for Microsoft for Startups’ highly successful GrowthX Accelerator Programme and is accepting registrations for the next series of virtual conferences in the well-received Highway to 100 Unicorns virtual conference.

The GrowthX Accelerator and Highway to 100 Unicorns are part of a broader strategic partnership between Microsoft and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to accelerate opportunities for startups across the region. The GrowthX Accelerator, announced in January 2021 and officially launched in May, brings together corporates with challenges and startups that can build field-ready solutions. It empowers B2B tech startups with the commercial and technical resources and support they need to accelerate their growth.

H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said, “Startups are the lifeblood of Abu Dhabi’s innovation ecosystem, bringing ingenuity, fresh ideas and ambition to drive progress across all sectors. The Abu Dhabi government is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and businesses through scale up programmes such as GrowthX Accelerator and Highway to 100 Unicorns. The progression of these initiatives to their next phases signifies the success they have achieved in helping startups. We will continue on this journey to ensure innovators have access to all the tools and resources they need to make impactful change in Abu Dhabi.”

GROWTHX ACCELERATOR

The UAE has ranked consistently high on global indexes that benchmark business excellence. Microsoft for Startups GrowthX Accelerator is designed to consolidate the progress the country has made by leveraging the benefits its government offers technology companies. Through intense technical and commercial acceleration, the programme engenders connections and brings innovators together to learn, grow, become investor-ready and better engage corporates in the region.

"Our second cohort of GrowthX follows a very successful first phase in 2021, where we saw massive interest from innovators across the region,” said Roberto Croci, Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups, MEA. “Microsoft customers, regardless of their industry or scale, are eager for solutions. Success in a rapidly globalising digital economy relies on making the right moves at the right time with the right technology. Microsoft for Startups exists to support the creators of innovative solutions and connect them with the technology and partners they need in order to grow. Our work with ADIO on the GrowthX Accelerator program lays the groundwork for that sea change in the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem."

GrowthX includes virtual and physical workshops and training sessions, as well as a series of “demo days” and networking events where startups get the opportunity to showcase their visions to both venture capitalists and Microsoft’s regional enterprise customers. Microsoft will recruit 15 startups from across the region to solve a range of corporate challenges for its partners, over the course of the 12-week program. Corporate Partners in this year’s GrowthX cohort include DHL, PwC, Koc Holdings, with more to be announced.

HIGHWAY TO 100 UNICORNS

Microsoft for Startups also announced it will hold another virtual conference series for its popular Highway to 100 Unicorns programme. Hosted in partnership with ADIO and LinkedIn, Highway to 100 Unicorns brings together experts from across the globe to address the issues faced by early-stage entrepreneurs across the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan, and share with them the insights they need to build and scale. The latest virtual conference series will be hosted live on LinkedIn and Microsoft Teams between 24 January and 9 February. Over the three-week period, two sessions will be hosted daily, the first targeting idea-stage founders who are still developing their business models, and the second focusing on the issues faced by slightly more mature businesses as they consider scaling.

Confirmed speakers for this year’s Highway to 100 Unicorns conference include Mark Chahwan (co-founder at Sarwa), Brian Habibi (co-founder at Bayzat), Sarah el Saleh (Partner at Outliers), Yehia Badawy (co-founder at Rain), Joy Ajlouny (Fetchr), and Sarah Toukan (co-founder at Ziina). The conference will also include workshops and info sessions with ADGM and Hub71.    

Source: Pro Global