Fifth edition of STEP Conference to deliver best speaker lineup in event’s history - Start-Up Hyderabad
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Fifth edition of STEP Conference to deliver best speaker lineup in event’s history

 7 years ago    

This year’s STEP Conference, the flagship event during STEP2017, will deliver its most impressive speaker lineup yet for its fifth edition. Packing serious star power, confirmed speakers include some of the most influential Arabs in the world, as well as heavyweights from the tech, digital and entertainment industries. The event takes place at Dubai International Marine Club on 5th and 6th April, and is followed by STEP Music on 7th April.

With a unique focus on the intersection of technology, digital media and entertainment, and its unrivalled interactive format, STEP Conference enjoys a reputation as the meeting place for progressive young Arabs intent on placing the MENA region at the forefront of innovation.

“Our mission at STEP Group has always been to inspire progressive change in the Arab world by bringing together exceptional talent and promoting positive dialogue. It’s been five years since we launched STEP Conference and that mission is even more resolute today. We want to counter the rampant fearmongering in the world by celebrating Arab excellence, encouraging tolerance and inspiring greatness,” said Ray Dargham, CEO, STEP Group.

Keynote presentations not to be missed include BBC journalist Kim Ghattas’ on-stage interview with Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to Russia and author of Letters to a Young Muslim. Joining him is Ayman Jamal, founder of Dubai-based Barajoun Entertainment, and producer and co-director of the critically acclaimed animation Bilal: A New Breed of Hero. Both will discuss how young Muslims can navigate the complexities of today’s world.

True to its entrepreneurial roots, STEP Conference remains the hunting ground for investors looking for the next tech unicorn in the Middle East. It has also become a magnet for some of the world’s biggest technology companies who view Dubai as their launchpad to new markets.

This year’s Tech track will open with an address by H.E Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office. Charles Elachi, the previous head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will discuss NASA’s mission to mars and the future of space exploration. Attendees can also learn how artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality are changing the game in various industries. Among the speakers are Nadine Haram whose company Proximie is helping surgeons operate in remote areas, and Ramzi Rizk from the photography community and marketplace EyeEm, which is using AI to transform the way people search, buy and sell images.

Step Conference 2016 - Day One - Image ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media For bookings contact - or +447821755904
Step Conference 2016 – Day One – Image ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media
For bookings contact – or +447821755904

The Startup & Entrepreneurship track tackles the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem from operations to latest technologies and investment. It includes talks from the region’s unicorn companies Careem and They will be joined by established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are pushing the envelope in e-commerce, transportation, F&B, real estate, and brick and mortar retail. Among the confirmed speakers are Sean Ryan from Facebook and Roin Thampi from Zomato.

In Money & Investment attendees will hear from some of the biggest money movers and shakers, including global VCs, like Christopher Schroeder, who share a keen interest in emerging markets and local investors, like Fadi Ghandour, who have bankrolled the rise of the technology sector in the Middle East over the last decade. Other topics to be explored are game-changing financial technologies in online payment, banking services, and insurance.

Step Conference 2016 - Day Two - Image ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media For bookings contact - or +447821755904
Step Conference 2016 – Day Two – Image ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media
For bookings contact – or +447821755904

With demand for digital media content in Arabic continuing to accelerate, and Arabs’ use of social media channels outpacing most markets in the world, STEP Conference will bring together those at the vanguard of the region’s digital transformation. The Digital Content track will explore how traditional media outlets are adapting to the new digital order; what the future looks like for news reporting and digital activism; and how content creators are responding to changing consumption behaviors, new social channels and media such as video. Among the speakers are established professionals and disruptors like Dima Khatib from AJ+ and Sara Yasin from BuzzFeedNews, as well as Karl Sharro, the architect, satirist and commentator on the Middle East.

But what does this mean for brands? Find out in the Digital Marketing track which explores whether brands are capitalizing on online fame, influencers and super fans effectively. It also tackles practicalities like how to value reach and measure impact. Attendees will learn about the latest marketing models and practices, and discover how natural language processing and artificial intelligence, data analytics, and immersive reality are reshaping the industry.

In the Entertainment track visitors will enjoy the best of the region’s comedy scene with Fahad Al Butairi, Saudi Arabia’s first professional stand-up comedian and Tima Shomali, dubbed “the Tina Fey of the Arab World”, both tackling cultural taboos through the lens of humor. Cinema Akil will curate a session on film and cinema in the Arab region, bringing together some of the most successful Arab actors and directors to discuss challenges and opportunities in the industry. Also in the entertainment track is a dedicated focus on gaming, with the likes of Hussam Hammo from Tamaten taking the stage, and a series of discussions about sports with representatives from La Liga and City Football Group.

 “Every year we listen to the feedback of our participants to make each STEP Conference better than the last. We’re really excited about this year’s speaker lineup which features some of the region’s top influencers. We’re confident they will continue to challenge existing paradigms and bring to light those industries in MENA that are ripe for further disruption,” said Ray Dargham, CEO, STEP Group.

Tickets for STEP2017, which include access to both STEP Conference and STEP Music are available now and can be purchased from the STEP2017 website. Standalone conference tickets are also available –





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