Thursday, December 14 saw the CH9 Hub in Manama, Bahrain brimming with some of the most talented people in VR community gathered there for the second edition of Seedstars MENA Regional Summit 2017, under the patronage of His Excellency The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed R. Alzayani. Organized in strategic partnership with The Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB) and Tamkeen, the Global seed-stage startup competition brings together over 300 startup founders, investors, ecosystem players, leading corporations and investment opportunities from Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the US.
Aimed at showcasing the potential of entrepreneurship in MENA region, the main focus of the event was development of world-class entrepreneurial ecosystems across regional countries supported by latest technologies and connecting them to the world.
Apart from a full day activity including pitches from the best startups in MENA, inspirational keynotes, and interactive networking sessions, the event also featured the region’s leaders in Virtual Reality in an interactive panel to discuss “Commercialization of Virtual Reality”, hosting Ahmed Fayed – Executive Chairman of General Senses, the recently crowned winner as Kuwait’s Best Startup; Muna Al Shidhani – Project Manager at SAS Center for Virtual Reality (Oman), which is the GCC’s first and largest center of its kind.
SAS Center for Virtual Reality was established in 2013 with the objective of providing the infrastructure and training for human resources required for the development of virtual reality application and multimedia content for local, regional and international markets, with a major focus on training, development and research for creating a technology infrastructure platform conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation. To date, the center has trained over 500 Omanis for VR development.
The summit would not have been complete without featuring Munfarid Consulting, the first company for VR in Education & Training in MENA region, represented by Dr. Sana Farid – Co-Founder & CEO, who is a pioneering ARVR Strategist, predominantly supporting government and non-governmental initiatives leading them to envision, strategize and streamline Ai/AR/VR based programs in various sectors including healthcare, aviation, education and public services. Munfarid became one of the fastest growing companies in the Middle East region with a strong international print.
Speaking of the government’s vision and tremendous efforts for facilitating the development of corporate sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Osama Mohammed Al Arrayedh, the Undersecretary of Industry Affairs addressed the attendees on this occasion on behalf of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, stating: “the Kingdom of Bahrain has made sustained efforts towards creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is best in the region and has at its core simplification of procedures, hand-holding, funding support, incubation and partnership amongst stakeholders besides strong protection of intellectual property.” He further added, “The vision of our Leadership places the private sector at the forefront of economic development and private sector investments form an important component of our competitiveness and growth strategy. Entrepreneurship has been a long tradition in Bahrain and indeed in the entire gulf region which has been a trading hub for centuries.”
The event offered a great opportunity for regional and global entrepreneurs to come together to share important insights and gain deeper understanding of the startup dynamics, new innovation trends and opportunities in MENA as well as build relationships with other serial entrepreneurs, mentors and investors from MENA and around the World.