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Easier for Entrepreneurs to start a Business today, says Netflix Founding Executive

24/10/18

Dubai Science Park (DSP), a holistic science-focused business community, and the American Middle East Institute (AMEI), a Pittsburgh-based independent non-profit organisation, welcomed Mitch Lowe, Founding Executive of Netflix, to a joint conference, held on the sidelines of the 38th GITEX Technology Week in Dubai.

Themed Disruptive Technologies and the Next Economy, the institute’s 11th annual business conference that took place for the first time in Dubai convened leading experts from the US and the Middle East. The event that has attracted the likes of eminent American statesman Henry Kissinger in the past explored the impact of disruptive technologies on the development of glocal – an amalgamation of local and global – healthcare, energy, manufacturing and transportation sectors.

Speaking on his experience as the Founding Executive of Netflix and current Chief Executive Officer of MoviePass, Mitch Lowe noted that disruptive technologies touch every aspect of life and continue to impact almost all sectors and industries. He highlighted the crucial importance of innovation and entrepreneurship as well as disruption for development.

Lowe said, “When we started Netflix in 1998, the concept of video streaming was a novelty. Hardly anyone could have imagined the success that was to unfold in the years ahead. To put it in context, back then, less than 50 per cent of the US population had a cell phone. At that time, Google occupied a small office, and Amazon advertised its services on the radio. Online videos and pictures were still in their infancy, but we had a vision of the future of the internet.”

He added, “As with any other startup, we wanted to find a solution to a problem – in our case, that of wanting to watch any movie anytime, anywhere. In 2008, technology finally enabled us to offer streaming services to a growing audience. The most amazing change, however, is just how easy it has become to start a company now. It is a fascinating world that we have out there, especially for young people who are keen to get a head start in their career. Today, every fifth job is created by a startup, and almost every single week, there has been at least one startup valued at over US$2 billion.”

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of Dubai Science Park, said: “Dubai is an incredibly innovative and technologically advanced city. The embrace of disruptive technologies across sectors has greatly benefitted young startups and the city’s wider entrepreneurial ecosystem. Dubai Science Park provides companies operating in the science, energy and environment sectors with a conducive business environment that connects startups and SMEs with large MNCs. Through our latest collaboration with our esteemed partners from the American Middle East Institute, we seek to bring together experts from the US and the UAE to exchange knowledge, ideas and best practices.”

Simin Yazdgerdi Curtis, President and CEO of the American Middle East Institute, said: “We could not have imagined a warmer, more hospitable welcome than the one we have received in Dubai.  It's been extraordinary in every way.  The topic of our conference was 'disruption,' and every square mile surrounding Dubai Science Park is a case study in leadership-driven transformation. It's our hope that our friends in the UAE know that beyond the strong ties of friendship lies the promise of an unprecedented partnership with a city that has experienced the peaks and valleys of change. Pittsburgh's past and present offers so many reasons to build a permanent bridge to Dubai."

In addition to Mitch Lowe, speakers headlining the conference included Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Kevin Acklin, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Peoples Natural Gas, Michael Lordi, Esq., Chief Operating Officer of Elliott Group, Petra Mitchell, President and CEO of Catalyst Connection and Board Member of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, Michael Harries, Chief Technology Officer at ARIEL Precision Medicine and Partner at The Robotics Hub, Samir Khalil, Executive Director for Middle East and Africa at PhRMA, Fraser Kitchell, Director of Future Missions and Technology at Astrobotic, Aaron Morris, Co-founder of Allvision IO, Chris Moehle, Managing Director of Coal Hill Ventures and The Robotics Hub, and Namir Hourani, Managing Director of the Global Manufacturing & Industrialisation Summit.

After attending the event, Mitch Lowe visited the Dubai Internet City stand at the GITEX Technology Week where he met with Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City to exchange ideas and to participate in a fire-side chat moderated by Tamara Pupic, the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.

The joint conference is the latest in a series of annual industry events organised by Dubai Science Park in collaboration with strategic partners. Upcoming events include the Advance Health conference on 25 October and the 10th Green Leadership Series, a forum dedicated to the transition towards a low-carbon and sustainable Dubai, set to take place on 6 November.

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