As world exhibitions go, the timing of Expo 2020 Dubai could not be any better.

Organised under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, Expo 2020 – making history as the largest event ever held in the Arab World – is not only a six-month extravaganza and cultural spectacle for visitors; it is more importantly an environment for countless business opportunities.

With the opening of the mega event hours away, businesses will no doubt have a keen eye on events planned at the 4.38 site as global economies emerge from 18 months of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With many businesses keen to re-calibrate the way they work to cope with fresh demands of a changed world, a series of events, workshops, and presentations in the first weeks of the Expo will offer insight into how firms can prepare.

Zawya rounds up 10 top networking opportunities happening earlier on in the event.

1. Debate sustainability with Brazil’s Vice President

A key theme of the entire exhibition is sustainability. On Day Two of Expo 2020, October 2, visitors can join a debate with the vice president of Brazil, Hamilton Mourão to discuss the South American country’s contribution to sustainable development enterprises and initiatives.

Mourão leads the Council of the Amazon that is responsible for preserving, protecting, and developing the Amazon region by working with businesses and communities.

Starting at 3 p.m., the two-hour talk – which will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology around sustainability – is included in a day pass ticket.

2. Discuss investment in developing nations

Country pavilions will unite to listen to a panel of top leaders from the private sector on 14 October to explore new ways to maximise the role of the European Union (EU) by investing in developing nations.

The debate will focus on how to ramp up private investment in developing countries and emerging economies, particularly in Africa. Talks will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and visitors can dip in and out while they enjoy other attractions around the site.

3. Discover initiatives from the heart of Russia

Exclusive business and media conferences will bring together key Russian industry leaders and media influencers, allowing them to showcase the very best examples of projects initiated and developed in Moscow.

The event will be popular with those visitors with a keen interest in learning more about Moscow and how to invest in or take a trip to the cosmopolitan capital.

It will showcase opportunities in business entrepreneurship, as well as what arts and culture Moscow has to offer - all within the Russia pavilion inside the site’s mobility district.

4. Learn about the Expo key themes with Mexican experts

During October, three Mexican guests will give 45-minute talks focusing on topics related to the theme weeks of Expo.

Admission to the talks is included in the entry ticket, with locations to be confirmed on daily entry programmes. Experts will spark up a range of different conversations, starting with space exploration throughout October.

Other topics lined up include climate and biodiversity, urban and rural development, travel and connectivity, health, wellness, and agriculture.

Mexico’s pavilion in the Mobility District will showcase national treasures in the form of art, music and food taking visitors on a journey of migration and exchange through the cycle of life.

5. Learn how businesses can battle climate change

A special event at the Blue Carbon Majlis on 19 October will offer an insight into how coastal and marine ecosystems store carbon, and how businesses can get involved to improve their impact on climate change.

The two-day programme will focus on policy and financing of this vital science that has the potential to play a critical role in protecting the natural world. Talks and demonstrations will be led by the IORA Blue Carbon Hub, a natural disaster risk reduction think tank from the University of Western Australia and co-curated with IORA Members and Observer states.

The two-hour talks take place at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

6. Explore how to branch out in the green-tech space

At the Malaysia pavilion, an unmissable event is lined-up on October 20 for companies looking to branch out into emerging green technologies should snap up the opportunity to visit a mini-seminar on the topic. 

Perfect for those with an interest in future renewable, sustainable technologies that care for the environment, this particular forum focuses on investment opportunities in green technology in Malaysia. The talk will last for an hour and a half from 8.30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Afterwards, visit Al Wasl Plaza – home to the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface. The Plaza’s dome comes alive after dark and awakens as an illuminated canvas against the night sky, capturing the imagination of visitors as it tells stories “from the Arab region, our natural world, the cosmos, and humanity’s endless quest for a better future.”

7. Unearth emerging technologies

The Nigeria Tech Conference on 21 October will give visitors an inside look at the latest emerging technology in Africa and what investment opportunities are on offer for businesses.

Speakers will reveal how the continent is connecting and harnessing the transformative power of technology with displays showcasing to the world Nigeria’s enormous strides and successes in its technological progress.

The 12-hour forum begins at 10a.m.

8. Mingle at the EU Business Forum

The EU is set to host a business forum with representatives from the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC nations and a gala to mark a custom Expo "EU Honour Day" on October 23.

Once the business segment is over, the forum hosts live music and dance performances at the Morocco and Israel pavilions.

9. Learn about investment opportunities in Switzerland

The Swiss pavilion is preparing to showcase some unseen gems of what the nation has to offer businesses and tourists planning to visit the beautiful country of mountains and lakes.

Swiss universities and tech companies will be on hand to demonstrate their latest ideas on how to build smart cities of the future.

A digital “twin” of Albert Einstein, who attended university in Zurich, will greet those visiting the pavilion.

Meanwhile, healthcare-focused individuals can learn more about the progression of value-based healthcare in the region via Roche’s special 125-year anniversary exhibition in November.

10. Converge with fintech specialists at BlockExpo

As Expo 2020 puts it, “few technological innovations in recent times have attracted as much interest – and confusion – as blockchain.” Organisers promise that “the veil on its revolutionary promise will be lifted” in November when more than 300 fintech firms and thousands of experts and enthusiasts meet at BlockExpo and World Blockchain Summit 2021.

Taking place at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, right on the “doorstep” of the Expo 2020 site, the event is aimed at “technologists, futurists, and savvy investors”.

(Reporting by Jennifer Webster; editing by Seban Scaria)


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