Written by Alam Zia
Globalisation is an underlying trend that has been taking the world by storm for the past fifty years. This trend refers to the ever-growing connectedness between people across the world wether it be socially, politically or economically. As I am a nineteen year old undergraduate one could assume my attention centers social and political concerns. Such as, my dissipating nationalism or the conceivable election of a reality television host. On the contrary, as a hopeful entrepreneur, I dwell on the economic factors of globalisation.
Modern technology has given ease to the conduct of trade and through that has given rise to Multinational Corporations (MNCs). In 1996 the top hundred MNCs were responsible for a third of trade in the entire worlds market. The same hundred corporations also owned a quarter of all stock of foreign direct investment (FDI). These numbers are undoubtedly increasing and prove that large corporations are no longer concerned with domestic domination but are pursing to encompass the global market.
These companies have great power and with that they must have a great sense of responsibility as well, right? Most do, and thereby display programs of corporate social responsibility on their illustrious websites. But that has been shown, in the past and present, to be a veil for some select MNC’s such as Volkswagen. CSR programs encounter the dilemma of implementing characteristics like sustainable operations but lack to create initiatives for real positive change.
This is where social enterprise comes in, for me, for substantial causes and for the future. Social enterprises bridge the gap between businesses and societal issues by using non-traditional models. Doing good and being profitable is the ultimate goal. The aforementioned economic globalisation will also have an effect on this ever-growing sector. Expert in MENA, Soushiant Zanganehpour, believes that:
“The fundamental values of social entrepreneurship [will] become incorporated into mainstream business practice. The implications of this for large businesses and brands will vary; some may see it as a threat while others will see this as an opportunity to reinvent themselves to redefine purpose, responsibility and expectations in order to build loyalty with a new emerging consumer demographic.”
The emerging populace he refers to is the millennials and inferably the upcoming workforce of Generation Z (those born in 1995-2000’s). Social enterprise challenges the norms instilled by major corporations and forwards fluidity that is paralleled to the factors of economic globalisation. My opinion, based on the content above, is that corporations have a duty to not only preserve our fragile world but to also enhance it. Wether it’s targeting environmental or societal issues on a global or a local scale there is a need for action. Of course this is easier said than done but hundreds of attempts to do good and falling short are better than not trying at all.
 G. Shangquan, ‘Economic Globalization: Trends, Risks and Risk Prevention’, (2000), (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/cdp/cdp_background_papers/bp2000_1.pdf), Date Accessed: Jun 28 2016
 J. Stopford, ‘Multinational Corporations’, (1998), pp. 1-3 (http://online.sfsu.edu/jgmoss/PDF/635_pdf/No_22_Stopford.pdf), Date accessed: Jun 29 2016
Written by Aya Sadder - Expecting to grow to 8,000 people in 2017, Ray Dargham – Founder of STEP Group, announced as he welcomed 4,000+ through the doors at Dubai International Marine Club this April. With the wave of startups, speakers, incubators, angels and VC’s exhibiting at STEP, the crowd seemed to want more. It’s a good thing there’s still 2017.
While most of the startups have come to exhibit their hard work over the course of weeks, months and some even a few years, and yet expectations are as high as the cost of the tickets and every minute echoes the sound of excitement, mixed with fear, sweat and competition. Albeit all of this, there was still one big discussion that was on the tongue of all the startups: the need for funding. VC’s like LEAP Ventures & MEVP among others took to the stage pieces of advice that would help startups remain successful in a highly condensed market like the UAE. Tena Pick, Head of Advisory at VentureFin, stated that “a good business idea comes from a desire to change the status quo as opposed to starting a business as a means to gain purely financial profit.” Among the startups at STEP this year, I have listed a few below that are bringing that innovation and creativity to the table.
“If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.” – Warren Buffet.
Entrepreneur Middle East‘s Editor-in-chief, Fida Chaaban, moderated the opening panel at STEP 2016 to begin the discussion around the investment opportunities that are investable and why? Ms. Hala Fadel, Co-Founder at LEAP Ventures, responded with figures: “we should be investing at least 0.3% of the overall GDP capital injected into the UAE economy which is about 1.2 billion USD in funding.” Although she is correct to look at global best practices that have played out successfully; in this region, if we are to do it correctly, we need to have the right infrastructure in place that allows for more failures and testing in the marketplace before we can drop in a much more serious amount of capital. We need a lot more funding support from the government in STEM & Fintech as the future shines bright for these industries.
Here are some of the startups that are moving the needle forward in the technology space in the MENA region:
1) Vybz: The latest and greatest in the entertainment technology space right now. Vybz is a musical social network bridging the gap between established artists, up & coming musicians and fans.
2) Justmop.com: Need a shiny place in a fancy city like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Doha? Justmop gets the job done. They are an online on-demand marketplace for booking cleaners to help you keep your most precious resource, your time.
3) IRIS Solutions: One of the most innovative and latest technology solutions to autism. The Sensory Box created by IRIS Solutions is a cutting-edge & affordable approach to create a rehabilitation-friendly and safe environment – mostly but not only – for households with children who are affected by developmental disorders.
4) Bridg: On a mission to spread Fintech to masses and let people know they hear them when it comes to the pain of dealing with their banks.
5) Magnitt: A portal that helps and supports startups from concept exploration to launch and growth. All you have to do is join their platform to connect with Investors, Mentors and Potential Partners!
6) Gruptrip: No more forgetting who owes what, forgetting to share the photos, worrying what the itinerary is going to look like. With Gruptrip, everybody gets to see what’s going on through a click of a button. Available both on the app store and play store.
7) Higher Education: Education is the backbone of a society. And Higher Education provides a one stop destination to find out about all universities, colleges, higher education service providers and courses on offer in the United Arab Emirates.