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Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy’s App Olympics Competition Garners Over 1,100 Applications

Feb 20, 2024

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The App Olympics competition, an app development initiative launched by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy that commenced in October 2023, has announced receiving over 1,100 applications from across the world for this one-of-a-kind undertaking.

The App Olympics competition has been launched as part of the Create Apps in Dubai initiative, which was announced in March 2023 by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. The program thus caters towards the goal of transforming the Emirate of Dubai into a leading, global digital hub, and it also aligns with the objectives laid down in the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).

The competition’s first stage saw over 1,100 applications come in from the UAE as well as 64 other nations; the latter accounted for 31% of the total submissions. With the App Olympics designed to strengthen Dubai’s leadership in mobile application development,the program saw applicants send in creative ideas that could potentially disrupt the sector. A large majority of the ideas were edtech-focused, allowed by healthcare, sustainability, and logistics. Among the other areas of interest within the applications included financial services, tourism, travel, as well as F&B services.

“The high levels of local and international participation reflect the importance of this initiative as an opportunity for innovators in the field of app development to transform their ideas into digital startups using the Emirate as a launchpad,” said Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy. “The success of the App Olympics further strengthens Dubai’s position as a leading platform for creative minds, and a magnet for pioneers from across the globe. Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy remains committed to supporting entrepreneurs and businesses in bringing their ideas to life, and accelerating the growth of Dubai’s Digital Economy.”

Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy. Source: Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy

The initial applications then went through a rigorous evaluation process, following which a total of 247 ideas progressed to the second stage of the competition in January. During this qualifying phase, competitors participated in 90 training courses on topics pertaining to mobile application development, as well as building prototypes and pitching strategies. Participants also benefited from the support of industry experts who were a part of the program as mentors.

A total of 24 participants are now expected to progress to the semi-final stage in February 2024, following which 12 ideas will be shortlisted for the finals. The final winners of the competition will be announced during a ceremony that will be held at the Museum of the Future in Dubai at the end of the same month. A panel of judges featuring industry experts across key sectors such as banking, venture capital, as well as representatives from the government will evaluate the final 12 pitches who will be vying for four award categories, namely Best App of the Year – Advanced Level, Best Youth-Made App, Most Innovative App, and Social Impact.

Each of the four winners will receive a cash prize of US$150,000, as well as a comprehensive package of services delivered in collaboration with an international app development software company. Each of the winners will also gain access to support from Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy to launch their ideas, receive assistance with licensing and banking processes, as well as in identifying potential partners and customers.

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