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23 February 2024

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy’s App Olympics competition attracts more than 1,100 innovative entries

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By E247

12th edition of the Sikka Art and Design Festival, highlighting visual arts and local and regional artistic innovations from 23 February to 3 March 2024, in Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood, with distinctive artworks by Emirati and resident artists and various entertainment and musical performances, workshops, and talks.


Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, has attracted more than 1,100 applications to participate in its App Olympics programme, which was launched last year as part of the ‘Create Apps in Dubai’ initiative announced by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.

The App Olympics comes as part of the chamber’s efforts to consolidate Dubai’s position among the world’s most advanced and diversified digital hubs, support the success of the local digital ecosystem, and accelerate the emirate’s transformation into one of the leading digital economies globally in line with the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).

The initiative is designed to further strengthen Dubai's leadership in mobile application development and attract creative pioneers in this vital sector. The App Olympics encourages ambitious digital talent to submit their ideas for mobile applications. Participants benefit from the support of experts in the field and have the opportunity to win prizes aimed at accelerating the growth of their businesses during the closing ceremony, which will be hosted at the Museum of the Future in February.

The App Olympics has attracted global interest, with international participants from 64 countries accounting for 31% of applications. Education-focused apps accounted for the largest share of ideas submitted, followed by healthcare, sustainability, and logistics. Other entries received spanned diverse sectors including financial services, tourism, travel, and food and beverage services. 

Following a thorough evaluation of the ideas submitted, a total of 247 entrants were selected to participate in the App Olympics and compete during the qualifying stages, which took place over a six-month period. Competitors participated in 90 training courses on topics related to mobile application development, as well as effective strategies to transform their initial ideas into working business models.

The programme’s first phase concluded in January when qualifying ideas advanced to the second stage of the competition, which includes training and guidance on topics including building prototypes and pitching app ideas. A total of 24 participants will progress to the semi-final stage in February, after which 12 ideas will be shortlisted to compete in the final.

During the awards ceremony, the selected participants will compete in the award’s four categories, Best App of the Year - Advanced Level, Best Youth-Made App, Most Innovative App, and Social Impact. The ideas presented will be evaluated by a distinguished panel of judges featuring industry experts representing areas including banking, venture capital, government, and the private sector.

The four winners will each be awarded a prize with a value of US$ 150,000 consisting of a comprehensive package of services delivered in cooperation with an international app development software company. Each of the winners will also benefit from integrated support from Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy to launch their ideas as promising startups, including assistance with licensing and banking processes and identifying potential partners and customers. 

Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, commented: “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. 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.”

Led by Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy and supported by government entities and leading technology companies, ‘Create Apps in Dubai’ has developed a series of initiatives aimed at further strengthening the emirate’s position as a global leader in the digital domain. The initiative seeks to train over 1,000 Emiratis on the fundamentals of coding, building mobile applications, and business creation models through the Emirati Training Academy, as well as triple the number of app developers in Dubai by 2025 and support 100 new national projects for the development of cutting-edge mobile applications. 

For more information, please visit: createapps.ae