Everything you need to know about STEP Conference

MENA Tech & Startup communities are gathering in Dubai right now


Techies and entrepreneurs assemble. STEP Conference is back for it’s fifth year meet-up, taking place in the Dubai International Marine Club (near Barasti) this Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th April. Over 4,000 digital enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and investors in the tech, digital and entertainment industries from all around the world are expected to make it to STEP to ruminate on the latest digital trends and disruptive technologies.

The topics up for discussion are separated into three tracks; Tech (startup founders, investors, VCs and tech giants), Digital (agencies, CMOs and digital gurus) and Entertainment (content producers, artists, gamers etc.). As well as a whole host of excellent industry speakers shining a light on the ever-changing digital landscape, there’ll also be a startup showcase, a pitch competition, mentor workshops, and a hackathon, not to mention a host of after-party networking events.

Here are some of the highlights to make sure to check out;

Kick-ass speakers

As with any of these types of events, the addition of some prominent speakers offer an attractive added value to the main objectives of getting your startup noticed and getting some face-time with investors and clients. This year, speakers range from the Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef (the ‘Jon Stewart of the Arab World’) to experts in their field from massive tech giants like Facebook and Google, through to international publications like the New York Times, The Telegraph, TechCrunch and The Next Web, as well as a whole host of other Media, VC and Tech companies.

Startup Basecamp

The STEP Startup Basecamp is the largest startup showcase in the MENA region, gathering together more than 200 startups from around the world to showcase their offering, meet investors, network with entrepreneurs and industry experts, and discover the latest trends in technology.

Pitch Competition

50 of the exhibiting start-ups will be entered into a pitch competition consisting of two rounds over the two days of the conference. Round 1 comprises of a 60 second elevator pitch, with nine finalists going through to Round 2 where they’ll have five minutes to deliver their startup’s pitch to the panel.

Startup Workshops

Exhibiting startups will also be able to get advice directly from visiting speakers via smaller 20-seat sessions and a ‘Mentor's Corner’ dedicated to one-on-one 15 minute consultations from industry experts about legal regulations, marketing, funding, and more.


The STEP Hackathon is a hands-on workshop involving 10 seed startups, teaching them how to model their business and test its viability, how to reach customers and evaluate the tools needed for the journey from idea to product.


A gathering of this magnitude also offers like-minded attendees a host of valuable networking opportunities. In addition to the natural meet-ups that occur over the two days, a Speed Networking event will also take place with attendees given two minutes to interact with other enthusiasts before moving on to meet the others.

Food Festival

For all the foodies out there, STEP is hosting the best of Dubai’s pop-up food scene with food trucks parked at Dubai International Marine Club throughout the event.

Last but not least… The After Parties

It wouldn’t be a start-up gathering without a few after parties would it? Running over three nights, there are plenty of opportunities to let your hair down and mingle with other like-minded attendees. The Opening Night party takes place tonight (Sunday 3 April) at Dubai International Marine Club, and will be open to all. After the first day of activities, attendees will get the chance to meet up for a drink at Dek on 8 across the road at Media One Hotel, to build stronger relationships with the connections they've established on Day One. The Closing Party will take place at Atelier M, Pier 7 on Tuesday night to finish out the event.

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Written By

Lovin Dubai