Deep Dive Innovation Discovery

As technology continues to bring down barriers between industries, businesses have a chance to leverage cross-industry innovation to reach greater heights and an event like Unbound Bahrain serves as a nexus to make this happen, especially for a region as diverse as the Gulf states and Middle East.

Unbound Bahrain is a truly cross-industry, cross-vertical endeavour. Players from across the innovation ecosystem come together under one roof to discuss the trends that are shaping our world through a variety of presentation formats including Main Stage discussions and keynotes, side events, exhibitions, startup challenges, hackathons and more, to provide a content-rich experience for attendees.

Check out the themes explored in 2019 below. 

speaker bahrain

2019's Top Eight Themes

Building the New Gulf Ecosystem

Almost every government across the MENA region has woken up and is actively supporting the startup ecosystem. It’s time to go beyond the primers and 101s, and get to specifics. We want to hear from global as well as regional startups, investors, brands & corporates, governments, and education institutions on building the new Gulf ecosystem. For innovation to thrive at scale, the ecosystem must come first.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Ecosystem building
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Accelerators & incubators
  • Public-private initiatives

A Global Fintech Hub Rises

The MENA fintech market is estimated to be worth US$2 billion and expected to grow at an annual rate of US$125 million until 2022. Bahrain is positioning itself as a fintech hub for the region and the world. What does it have to do to secure that coveted status? Banks and financial institutions have important lessons to share, but so do a range of other stakeholders from across industry. If there is meaningful dialogue between innovators, businesses, and government, Bahrain has a real shot at spearheading fintech in the Gulf.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Financial services
  • Banks & banking
  • Payments
  • Security

Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence

The Middle East is expected to reap 2 per cent of the total global benefits of artificial intelligence by 2030, equivalent to US$320 billion. So how exactly is AI and machine learning revolutionising industries in Bahrain and across the Gulf? Let’s look at some of the practical applications and case studies of how the technology is being used by cross-sector businesses big and small. Every competitive economy of the future will have to get serious about AI in double quick time.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Jobs in the age of AI
  • Practical applications of AI
  • Machine learning
  • Automation

Energy & Sustainability for a Cleaner Gulf

The MENA region is expected to invest about US$1tn in its energy sector over the next five years. What is the future of energy and how can the Gulf move away from its reliance on oil & gas? New technologies and sustainable agendas will play a key role in this shift, but there must also be champions and cheerleaders in both the public and private sectors leading this new energy agenda. The opportunity for the region is not just cleaner environments, but entirely new industries, jobs, and investment opportunities built on a sustainable model.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Cutting plastics
  • Nuclear
  • Sustainable resources
  • Wind, solar & hydrogen
  • Electric vehicles
  • Oil & gas

Reskilling the Workforce 

With more than half of its population under 25 years old, MENA faces critical challenges as well as opportunities for its workforce. Workers will have to reskill frequently throughout their careers as industries wrestle with the impact of rapidly evolving technologies. In countries like Bahrain, a limited human capital pool means the challenge is even greater. Lessons can be learned from city-states like Singapore, which is already successfully transitioning into a digital economy with a reskilled workforce.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Digital economy
  • Future of work
  • Learning to code
  • Human capital

Investing & Venture Capital

Startups in MENA raised US$560 million in funding across 260 deals in 2017. What are the biggest VCs and investors excited about in 2019? What problems keep them up at night? And what kind of investments and trends are they focused on in the Gulf? We want to hear from regional and global investors from different stages and sectors, to learn about best practices on building and exiting innovative businesses.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Corporate investment
  • Fundraising
  • Venture capital
  • Deals & term sheets

Blockchain Deep Dive

The world capital of blockchain is rising in the Middle East, according to CNBC. Blockchain is perhaps the single most disruptive technology of recent years. Its applications are far and wide, from fintech to delivering foreign aid and beyond. This will be as true for Bahrain and the Gulf as anywhere else in 2019. But blockchain is also a topic that has a lot of hype attached to it. We want to bring it back down to earth with concrete case studies and applications for the technology in business and delivery of public services.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Cryptocurrency
  • Decentralised future
  • Transparency
  • Accountability

Digital Wellness & Corporate Wellbeing

Some of the biggest companies in the world and across MENA are prioritising digital wellbeing initiatives in 2019. It goes far beyond the workplace, to the very products we have come to rely on most and the narratives of how they’re marketed. The new slogan wants us to believe that technology should improve life, not distract from it. It’s about reassessing the role technology plays in our lives, and how to know when that balance is becoming unhealthy.

In-depth topics to include:

  • Health & lifestyle
  • Corporate wellness
  • Mental health & fitness
  • Digital products & services as enablers, no distractions

2019 Speakers

View the full speaker lineup

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