Mideast digital transformation trends focus of top forum

MANAMA: Scores of delegates tuned in from around the world to get insights on transformative trends in the Middle East last night during the opening ceremony of Bahrain’s biggest virtual event.

The sixth edition of the Manama Entrepreneurship Week (MEW) will continue until Thursday and for the first time in its history, is being conducted virtually, with pre-recorded and live sessions. It is being conducted under the patronage of Capital Governor Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa.

During opening comments, Shaikh Hisham said the event would feature panel discussions and fireside chats about digital transformation, technological innovation and disruptions, which will guide entrepreneurs especially during the current Covid-19 climate.

Opening remarks were followed by a speech by Dr Hashim Hussein, head of UNIDO-ITPO and a keynote speech by Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and founding chairman of Kayak.com.

Adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic was a common theme among the speakers as they addressed participants from all over the world, including US, Norway, the UAE and Bahrain.

The anticipated transformation in the telecom industry and the need to leverage existing networks to provide better services was highlighted in a fireside chat between Yasin Aboudaoud, general manager at Brinc and Andrew Hanna, chief commercial officer at Omantel.

Tips for securing financing and utilising digitisation to scale up businesses in the face of a credit crunch as a result of the pandemic were offered up by Baybars Altuntas, former senior adviser of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) and executive chairman of the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF).

Mr Altuntas said start-ups that thrive in this economy will receive more investment after the pandemic due to their efficient business processes and resilience.

He also found that traditional business owners were now investing more in start-ups as they recognised the need and potential for industry-wide business transformation to sustain their enterprises in the long term.

He emphasised the need for venture capital funds to provide know-how, mentorship and networking opportunities in addition to capital to help start-up ventures survive the pandemic.

Discussing the future of tech adoption, Kareem Elsirafy and Simon Tkachenko of Modus Capital said the pandemic is making companies “ruthlessly efficient and innovative” about their core products, while being less exploratory than before the crisis.

Diversity in the workplace, both as a driver for smarter strategic decisions and corporate responsibility were discussed during a panel exploring diversity in corporations.

Tiffany Yu, founder of US-based Diversability stressed the need to include under-represented groups like women and individuals with disabilities in strategic decisions so that corporations are better accepted as members of the community at large and to introduce a wider paradigm within the boardroom.

Innovations and disruptions in the pharmaceutical industry were discussed, with an emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurship, by Dr Kay Olmstead, co-founder and chief executive of Nano PharmaSolutions in California. The session was moderated by Khulood Al Qattan, first vice-president of the Bahrain Businesswoman Society (BBS).

MEW will continue until the end of the working week. Sessions scheduled for today include Amazon Web Services workshops provided, free of charge, by the Bahrain Institute of Business and Finance, as well as a forum of women in technology hosted by the BBS.

Microsoft will provide free training on its Azure cloud computing service tomorrow and Wednesday. Subject matter experts will discuss the future of work places and entrepreneurship tomorrow evening.

Wednesday’s session will also include sessions on pivoting start-ups and promoting businesses on social media.

Thursday’s schedule includes an interactive networking session provided by Rotaract Bahrain as well as an innovation and entrepreneurship forum powered by Bahrain University. All sessions are available to the public free of charge.


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/875076/Mideast-digital-transformation-trends-focus-of-top-forum#


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