Skip to content

Key Insights on AI Entrepreneurship in Dubai Explored During Panel Discussions at AI Retreat 2024

Scroll down to post content

Dubai’s startup ecosystem, robust governmental support, and advanced regulatory frameworks designed to foster AI-driven innovation took centre stage at the AI Retreat 2024. Hosted today at the iconic Museum of the Future and AREA 2071 at Emirates Towers in Dubai, the event featured insightful panel discussions.

The first session, titled “From Dubai to the World: Scaling Local Unicorns,” showcased the remarkable opportunities within Dubai’s entrepreneurial landscape through the experiences of Divyank Turakhia, Entrepreneur and Founder of; Mohamad Balout, Co-Founder and CEO of Kitopi; and Martin Avetisyan, Founder of Farfetch.

The panelists explored how AI has been instrumental in driving business growth and enhancing productivity within Dubai’s entrepreneurial landscape, emphasising the importance of recognising core AI strengths, scaling efficiently, and establishing strategic partnerships to enhance technological expertise and industry leadership.

Mr. Turakhia highlighted Dubai’s widespread adoption of deep technology across all layers of society and governance, positioning it as a global leader in AI adoption and implementation. “As the city and country increasingly adopt AI and integrate it into daily life to boost service quality, the population will become more accustomed to AI,” he explained.

He also discussed how Dubai serves as a dynamic sandbox for new ideas and technologies, driven by progressive government policies. The focus in AI has shifted towards tailoring data to fit organisational needs more than modifying the AI models themselves, illustrating Dubai’s commitment to refining frameworks that enable effective data usage and technological innovation.

Mr. Balout emphasised the critical role of public-private partnerships in facilitating rapid scale-ups within Dubai’s startup ecosystem. “The strong private-public partnership has been crucial to our rapid and sustainable growth. The ability to reach out to relevant parties in the government and offer opportunities at scale has been a big driver of our decision,” he noted.

He also addressed the practical application of AI in specific industries, noting that although it is easy to access AI technologies, the real challenge is deriving significant value from them. This requires not only access but also the expertise to tailor AI models to meet specific business needs and outcomes. Given the rapid evolution of the industry and the steep learning curve, there remains a critical need for specialised knowledge to fully leverage AI’s potential in targeted sectors.

Mr. Avetisyan stressed the importance of a proactive approach to AI integration within organisations. “We believe hybrid AI is the future, and we’ve already seen its effectiveness in optimising outcomes. The message for organisations is to move towards execution. Start with pilots, learn through proof-of-concepts conducted internally, and tailor the AI to suit the unique needs of your organisation. This customisation will become the secret sauce that enhances your role in leveraging AI,” he advised.

He also expressed his enthusiasm for the potential of Large Language Models (LLMs) in data analytics and predicted that both public and private organisations would increasingly rely on internally hosted, heavily customised APIs to maximise AI technologies.

The AI Retreat 2024 in Dubai was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation.

The event witnessed the participation of more than 1,000 decision-makers, experts, officials from the government and private sectors, and global tech giants. Participants discussed key AI growth opportunities, in terms of policies and legislation, governance, talent ecosystem, digital infrastructure, and AI data centres. They also explored key AI enablers, such as finance and research.

The AI Retreat served as a platform for direct and open communication and sharing of critical insights, creative ideas, innovative projects, best practices, and opportunities for partnerships between the government and private sector in boosting AI applications.