200 Representatives from Multinational and Regional Corporations are Participating in the 6th Investing in Technology Forum in Cairo on May 12th
Dr. Abdallla Alnajjar, chairman of the Arab Sciences and Technology Foundation (ASTF), has stated that Cairo will be hosting the 6th Investing in Technology Forum for this year 2009. The forum will be held in the Fairmont Towers Hotel, on May 12-14 under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Ahmed Nazif, prime minister of Egypt. ASTF is organizing the forum in cooperation with the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), Nile University, Abdul Latif Jameel Community Services Programs, Islamic Development Bank, Vodafone-Egypt, Technology Development Fund (TDF), (WIPO), Schema Management Consultants.
Dr. Najjar emphasized that the current economic conditions are critical and they create higher risk rates affecting investment decisions on all level. For that reason, ASTF is organizing the investing in technology forum to encourage investors in the MENA region by providing new investment opportunities in technology startups. Dr. Najjar referred to Canada’s latest decision of allocating 3.8 billion dollars to build two new research centers for technology innovation and commercialization. He also mentioned that a lot of multinational corporations have announced new programs to support technology investment in various countries such as Cisco which is investing 540 million in South Korea’s technology sector. Dr. Najjar said that part of our mission at ASTF is to provide Arab investors with such opportunities to keep wealth in the Arab World instead of investing in other countries.
Dr. Najjar clarified that what they mean by technology in not only Information Technology, it also includes: biotechnology, energy, agriculture, water, environment, health care, electronics and all knowledge based sectors, and among the forum’s participants there are: angel and venture capital investors, CEOs of multinational and regional corporations, entrepreneurs, researchers, directors of technology incubators, and technology leaders.
“Invited speakers will discuss various topics such as the role of multinational corporations in the global entrepreneurship development, the venture capital investment industry in the region, and the rule of angel investment networks in this ecosystem” said Dr. Wissam Rabadi, forum manager and ASTF-Jordan director.
Dr. Rabadi added that this year’s forum will include startups exhibition and investors-entrepreneurs matchmaking sessions that is aimed to announce the top 10 Arab startups that are ready for investment. The forum, which was preceded by five other forums in Beirut, Jeddah, Manamah, Kuwait, and Amman, has attracted over five years 550 participants from 26 countries, 160 organization, and 80 speakers. The forum has created 59 investment opportunities of which 22 startups got a total of 15 million dollars investment.
“The 6th forum has invited speakers from top tire international and regional companies such as: Motorola, IBM, Optimiza, Vodafone, and Mentor Graphics. We have also invited investors from Ideavelopers, Nile Capital, Catalyst Private Equity, MENA Ventures, Arab Seed Ventures, IV Holdings, Building Block Equity Fund, Berytech Fund, and Riyada Ventures” Dr. Wissam added.
Eng. Mohamed Aboud, ASTF-Egypt director, explained that the forum comes to promote success startup companies that were selected among other hundreds of applicants in ASTF regional “Business Plan” competitions that were organized in cooperation with Intel, “Made in Arab World” competitions that were organized in cooperation with the League of Arab States, and “Abdul Latif Jameel Research Grants” that is managed by ASTF.