Dubai Chamber to foster small businesses in Africa

By Elias Hakizimana.

A total of 20 startups from the UAE and Africa will benefit from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Global Business Forum Mentorship programme.

The new cross-border mentorship initiative is Organised by Dubai Chamber through the Chamberthon event that was recently held in Rwanda during the Africa Tech Summit 2019.

During the Chamberthon, 20 startups from the UAE and Africa collaborated and shared their ideas for Dubai Chamber’s new cross-border mentorship programme.

A total of 10 startups from the UAE were selected by the Chamber to participate in the Chamberthon, attend the Africa Tech Summit in Kigali, and join their African counterparts for a full day of interactive sessions.

Participants were divided into mixed teams of African and UAE entrepreneurs, representing many sectors and fields, including agriculture, healthcare, environment, fintech, climate change, social responsibility, construction, and customer experience among others.

Participants presenting their ideas during the Chamberthon

The startup teams developed and presented a wide variety of innovative and practical ideas that will be used to structure Dubai Chamber’s Global Business Forum Mentorship Programme.

The three-month mentorship programme aims to foster cross-border cooperation between startup communities by pairing startups with mentors who can provide them with valuable expertise, support and guidance.

Natalia Sycheva, Manager of Entrepreneurship for Dubai Chamber said that most of startups in UAE and Africa still face challenges including lack of role models, lack of funding and access to capital, lack of market access, competition barrier and lack of business knowledge among others.

Natalia Sycheva, Dubai Chamber of Commerce Spokersperson taking the participants through a session. /Courtesy photo

She said that Dubai Chamber will continue to foster economic cooperation and help these startups to explore opportunities in promising markets around the world.

“We are very encouraged by the strong interest and participation in the Chamberthon which is a new concept and extension of the Global Business Forum, an important platform that Dubai Chamber leverages to foster economic cooperation and explore opportunities in promising markets around the world.” She said.

She added that startups and entrepreneurs are the drivers of innovation that  Dubai Chamber is scaling up its support to through new initiatives like the Chamberthon and GBF Mentorship Programme to engage entrepreneurs and provide them with the knowledge and tools they need to expand globally.

One of the participants from Rwanda with fellow startup participants during a group session at the Chamberthon

A beneficiary speaks out

Sandrah Irasubiza, one of the beneficiaries of the programme has her own startup dubbed ‘iTec’, that aims to tackle climate change by developing an easy way to use Agro-Condition System, creating a controllable low-cost artificial climate Greenhouse.

 “The Chamberthon has given me an opportunity to exchange and brainstorm on innovative ideas with people from around Africa and UAE. This is a stepping stone for me to be able to broaden my reach with my startup and I believe that the GBF Mentorship Programme is a valuable initiative by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” Irasubiza said.

Established in 1965, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a non-profit public entity, whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by creating a favourable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub. 

The participants from Africa and UAE who took part in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chamber



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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,( is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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