• Bradley Evans

Ship Shape on the Welsh Trade Mission in the U.A.E.

Updated: May 4


Transcript available at the end of this page

“The biggest takeaway of all, is that the U.A.E Government believes it is only 5% complete on its vision for the U.A.E. It takes the same approach to business, which for entrepreneurs means that the government has a philosophy that is fundamentally aligned with visionaries and those willing to take risk.”

Last week our CEO, Daniel Sawko, joined the Welsh Government as part of the Welsh Trade Mission in the U.A.E. Daniel welcomed the invitation to be part of the Trade Mission alongside a number of brilliant Welsh tech companies and organisations.



The Trade Mission provided a great opportunity to meet and collaborate with prospective partners in the U.A.E. The warmth of the welcome from our hosts in the U.A.E was clear from the outset, with those we met with being exceptionally helpful in making introductions and actively following up to help us make the most of our visit. A welcome as warm as the weather!


Daniel had this to say about the Trade Mission:

“The Trade Mission to the U.A.E. opened our eyes to the multitude of opportunities for our business in the U.A.E. There is a market of significant potential that has a proven need for Ship Shape’s Venture Capital Search Engine"

Here’s a brief breakdown of Daniel’s time in the U.A.E.


Monday:

The first day in the U.A.E led to Daniel visiting Hub 71 in Abu Dhabi. Hub 71 is Abu Dhabi’s Technology Ecosystem that supports new startups to grow and develop while also accommodating investors to identify new


opportunities. You can read more about Daniel’s visit here.


Daniel felt encouraged by how open and welcoming businessmen and businesswomen in the U.A.E are to new ideas and their continuo


us strive for improvement.


Tuesday:

Time for Expo 2020! We were in Dubai as part of the Welsh Government Trade Mission that had a presence at the U.K Pavilion. This provided a great opportunity to see new innovations and ideas from around the world while also gathering together to watch the Welsh Government - Technology Summit that discussed various topics including Monetising Insurtech.


Present that day were a large num


ber of U.A.E guests, members of the Welsh business community in the U.A.E, and the Welsh Government. Daniel had a great chat with Vaughan Gething - the Welsh Economy Minister and Welsh Trade Envoys, Paul Gyles and Aled Miles.


Daniel had a chance to meet with some new and familiar faces, from Fintech Wales; Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO of Fintech Wales and Eamon Tuhami, Mentor and Tutor for Fintech Wales Foundry and to meet Mark Prendergast, Hub Host for Global Welsh in the GCC.


The spirits were high with the excitement of exploring Expo 2020 coupled with the celebration of St. Davids Day which fell on Tuesday 1st March. You can read more about Daniels day here.


Wednesday:

On Wednesday, Daniel was invited to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Daniel was welcomed by Rana who showed Daniel why DIFC is the Middle East, Africa and South Asia financial hub. Daniel was taken aback


to see how collaborative business and people are in the U.A.E and the wider MENA, sharing a vision to succeed,

View of the Burj Khalifa
View of the Burj Khalifa

That night, Daniel attended a celebration of International Women’s Day to celebrate women in business, including a fascinating panel by prominent Welsh entrepreneurs! Following, Daniel was invited to the after-party of the newest Dragon (from BBC’s Dragons Den) St


even Bartlett, where the Welsh of the West End performed a great set, including traditional Welsh choir songs and spoke with young entrepreneurs launching their own podcast.



Thursday

Thursday was another busy day for Daniel as he met with the inspirational Ankit Sarwahi, Managing Director of Middle Eastern Venture Partners.

Outside the Artificial Intelligence Office of the Prime Minister of the U.A.E
Outside the Artificial Intelligence Office of the Prime Minister of the U.A.E

Following this, Daniel spo


ke with Riham Osman who is the Head of Amazon Fintech Hub in Dubai discussing their role in the U.A.E’s financial sector and how it evolved over the past decade.


Lastly, Daniel met with Marwan Alserkal at the Artificial Intelligence Office of the Prime Minister of the U.A.E. (with thanks to Riham Osman for the introduction).



Round up:

The Welsh Trade Mission has already seen success with vast opportunities explored and new relationships formed. The Welsh Government organised a great trip to the U.A.E and put on a brilliant panel and St. David’s day event at Expo 2020.


From the few day


s Daniel spent navigating the U.A.E alongside the Welsh Government and Welsh business, it is clear that U.A.E welcomes international businesses with open arms and proactively changes the environment to make it more business friendly.


The Trade Mission is a sign of confidence in the Technology economy of Wales, the first part of the U.K to return to pre-pandemic size.


Daniel and Ship Shape would like to thank the Welsh Government for the invitation to the U.A.E as part of the Trade Mission and thank you to U.A.E for welcoming us and the Welsh community.


The biggest takeaway of all, is that the Government believes it is only 5% complete on its vision for the U.A.E, it takes the same approach to business, which for entrepreneurs means that the government has a philosophy that is fundamentally aligned with visionaries and those willing to take risk.


Here is a quick video of Daniel talking about his trip to Dubai. Transport is available below.



Transcript:

So we went to the U.A.E. last week as part of a Welsh Government Trade Mission with the technology sector. Honestly, was hugely surprised and impressed with the ecosystem that the U.A.E. are developing. There are thousands of startups and dozens of VCs that are really helping to make the U.A.E. the real tech hub of the Middle East Actually, there's just a different attitude to engaging and actually aligning the country with potential business interests. So, recently they changed the working week, weekend use to start on Friday, it's now shifted over Saturday - Sunday. They also have initiated a golden visa programme for 100,000 coders from around the world have a 10-year golden visa to the U.A.E.. Again, as a startup founder, hugely impressive that Government has shifted gears to make things easier for entrepreneurs. Likewise, the level of engagement in the community was excellent. We met with hub 71 in Abu Dhabi, and as part of Abu Dhabi Global Markets. Really good levels of engagement and likewise, they're really keen to promote a deep-rooted infrastructure that ideally links capital with entrepreneurs and smart money in a very sort of coordinated fashion. It is the same story over in Dubai International Financial Centre, with over 1000 startups in the FinTech Hub over there. Had some great meetings; a special shout out to the Amazon FinTech Hub, who were really helpful in terms of understanding the payment gateway infrastructure. We are a startup that wants to enable subscriptions from various Middle Eastern banks in future so to get the lay of the land from them was fantastic and they made some great introductions for us to the community. Likewise, really good meetings with Middle East Venture Partners, Shorooq partners, and also Rainmaking in the region. So they were just very impressive individuals who knew a lot about the growing infrastructure and ecosystem that's going on up there. Brilliant to be part of the Welsh Government Trade Mission out there, great to get go to Dubai Expo in the U.K. pavilion. It was a pretty great trip and we're looking forward to getting back perhaps later this month for a number of follow up meetings that were particularly promising.