Last month was an exciting time for entrepreneurs in the UAE. TwoStartup Weekend events – one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi – brought together nearly 500 people to hear more than 100 ideas for technology startups. As an organizer and sponsor of these events, it’s very fulfilling for me to hear all the great ideas and see the excitement and determination in the faces of teams as they work to turn an idea into a prototype over the weekend.
For regional entrepreneurs, Startup Weekend events serve as a starting point – a way to present their idea to an audience, find other people to believe in and build their idea, and potentially be awarded a cash prize to help start their business. It’s also a chance for entrepreneurs to receive valuable feedback on the business potential of their idea, thanks to the mentors who volunteer their time to coach the teams.
The entrepreneurial passion at these events is impressive. The problem is, what is there for participants to do after the event? Many teams actually go on and try to launch a startup – kudos to them, but this is a BIG step and one that not everyone is ready for. As a result, many ideas from the events are not developed further because there is no additional guidance or funding.