Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Cultivating a tech start-up culture is key to driving economic as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) progress across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Crescent Enterprises’ Deputy CEO and Head of Investments Tushar Singhvi has said.
According to public policy think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, tech-driven ventures in the US present more attractive opportunities for professionals, paying an average of $102,000, more than double the current US average of $48,000. “With a mature tech start-up ecosystem, these opportunities could become a reality in MENA too, and consequently we could see regional tech-driven ventures paying professionals more than double the current average salary,” Singhvi commented.
“ESG investing has been on the rise since the credit crunch of 2008. The current pandemic has accelerated the second surge of ESG-compliant investments, and tech companies represent a sizeable slice of the pie,” he added.
Globally, the tech innovation ecosystem is increasingly leaning towards ESG investing. More investors, while making profits, are consciously and conscientiously seeking a positive impact on society and the planet. According to a survey by insurance and pensions provider Aviva, 55% of investors said ESG factors have become a more important aspect of their investment decisions in the wake of COVID-19.
By speeding up digitisation, COVID-19 has created an opportunity to rethink decision making around tech applications for the betterment of society and the planet. Corporations, big or small, can benefit from the value of tech to contribute to a more prosperous and greener future for the region.
A World Economic Forum (WEF) forecast states that 60 percent of global GDP will be generated by digital businesses by 2022. “Harnessing the dynamism of the tech start-up culture would enable MENA countries to achieve ambitious social and environmental sustainability targets. The region’s ability to nurture homegrown entrepreneurs and import global tech start-ups will define our success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution across key sectors of the regional economy over the next five years,” Singhvi added.
“Post-COVID-19, it is more crucial than ever that MENA economies represent places within which start-ups can succeed, and by doing so, help find innovative and inclusive ways to overcome social challenges in order to advance quality of life for everyone.”
Manju George, Head of Strategy, Platform on Digital Economy, World Economic Forum, commented: “As more companies accelerate delivery on their ESG goals, digital technologies and new business models will be key enablers of success. Technology start-ups, like those enabled by Crescent Enterprises, can bring innovative and disruptive solutions for companies and countries to adopt and scale. The Forum’s Digital Transformation community supports companies to deliver long term business growth and net positive impacts for people and planet, including by building stronger connections with tech innovation ecosystems.”
Crescent Enterprises is a partner of WEF and a member of several WEF platforms, including ‘Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and New Value Creation’ and ‘Shaping the Future of Mobility’. The company is also active on WEF’s COVID Action Platform, joining forces with other stakeholders, including public sector institutions and global businesses, to help limit further disruption to lives and economies around the world. Singhvi is a member of several senior working groups engaged in projects related to digital transformation and digital inclusion, and he represented Crescent Enterprises on the ‘Global Future Council on Digital Economy and New Value Creation’.
Singhvi, who made his remarks during an Endeavor UAE webinar for entrepreneurs and founders, added: “MENA countries offer excellent opportunities for ambitious tech-enabled start-ups, but nurturing or attracting them and supporting them to thrive is the responsibility of not just the government. Because of the sheer scale and potential of the region’s rapidly emerging economies, I believe MENA can become one of the most exciting regions for digital business to expand or launch.”
Managing Director of Endeavor UAE Noor Shawwa, said: “As the world’s leading community of high-impact entrepreneurs, it is Endeavor’s mission to help entrepreneurs as they scale-up their businesses. One of the core areas of support is the fundraising process where we connect entrepreneurs to key investors and partners such as CE-Ventures. We are pleased to continue facilitating discussions enabling our network of founders to gain access to investor capital and expertise.”
CE-Ventures targets start-ups that offer synergies with Crescent Enterprises’ operations across Supply Chain Tech, MedTech, Enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS). The corporate venture capital platform focuses on wide-ranging emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), and blockchain.