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Open Startup successfully connects the ecosystems of the Middle East and Africa thanks to the second edition of the Global Immersion Week

Open Startup (OST) has successfully concluded the second edition of Global Immersion Week (GIW), a week-long event aimed at connecting different actors of the ecosystem of African and Middle Eastern countries to bring ecosystems together and foster interregional collaboration through innovation, openness and exchange.

This GIW 2.0 is an important step in strengthening OST’s mission to foster cross-regional collaboration and knowledge exchange among innovators. The event for stakeholders of innovation ecosystems to discover new perspectives, forge new relationships and learn from each other, thereby contributing to the growth and development of the MEA startup ecosystem.

From March 13-17, 14 startups, 25 ecosystem builders, investors and stakeholders from more than 5 countries gathered for a series of roundtables, networking events and site visits, counting the sessions of pitching and discussion sessions organized by Africinvest, “Meet & Mix” sessions aimed at connecting Tunisian and regional entrepreneurs, and much more.

Global Immersion Week also hosted a delegation from Columbia Business School in New York, the Legatum Center of Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, and the Executive MBA program at MIT.

During the week of the event, sub-events were organized for tech experts and different ecosystem players, led by top leaders: (1) OST Tech Night – a tech event featuring the technological landscape of the region, (2) A Deep Dive Session on ecosystems in Africa, presented by Abdou Chaoui, (3) A panel covering investment opportunities in Africa, presented by Michel Amsalem, Diego Arias, Julio Mupemba and Ioto Iovo, (4) and a session featuring Columbia Global Centers Amman and its impact, presented by Ahmad Al Mousa.

During the ceremony, Houda Ghozzi, CEO of OST, presented OST’s strategy and its four main pillars for the next three years: (1) more regional activities, (2) focus on advanced startups thanks to OST Grow (its investment readiness program), (3) focus on Deeptech in Africa thanks to the Brain program, and finally, (4) community building. As she explained, “in our region of the world, support for startups cannot be intrinsically linked to entrepreneurs and their projects. Without regional understanding and openness, startups are quickly faced with narrow markets, resources, networks and ambitions. This is one of the reasons OST focuses on fostering cross-border partnerships through common interests, alignment and trust”. She added: “We would like to thank all the startups in the region who joined us this week, as well as all the partners and speakers who supported the event. The event would not have been possible without their support and contributions”.

Martin Ewald, Lead Portfolio Manager Impact Investing, Allianz Global Investors “We are delighted to work with such a dedicated and professional partner as OST and to be able to support them in developing the start-up ecosystem in Africa”.

Open Startup thanks all partners who have supported the organization’s mission, including AfricaGrow Technical Assistance Facility which is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation through KfW, Drosos Foundation, Columbia Engineering, Columbia Business School, United States Embassy in Tunis, AfricInvest Group, Columbia Global Centers l Amman, Columbia Global Centers I Tunis, Innov’i – EU4Innovation, European Union in Tunisia, France Expertise, and The Dot.

OST is also grateful for the trust of its BRAIN partners: Africa Grow, Legatum Center of Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, MIT Executive MBA Program, MIT Africa, the United States Embassy, ​​Africinvest, IFC, Instadeep and Digital Africa.