(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Doha, Qatar: The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a leading onshore financial and business centre in the region, hosted a contingent of 12 top Southeast Asian startups at an exclusive roundtable aimed at strengthening the Southeast-Southwest Asia Golden Corridor for technology innovation.
Organised in partnership with Golden Gate Ventures, a venture capital fund in Southeast Asia founded by Silicon Valley natives, the roundtable kicks off just ahead of the Qatar Economic Forum, bringing together founders in the digital economy, B2B SaaS, gaming, EduTech and climate tech sectors.
Against the backdrop of the Forum, where discussions will focus on the rise and rise of the Gulf region and Qatar as an economic powerhouse in a new world order, the QFC-Golden Gate Ventures roundtable brings together some of SEA's most prominent founders to discuss emerging Southeast-Southwest Asia growth opportunities.
Investment from GCC into ASEAN hits $85.2bn in 2021, paving the way for long-term co-operation In the last decade, Indonesia has been a bright star for ASEAN as the most populous nation in the region, with a huge rising consumer class. Vietnam has also risen to the fore in recent years aided by a robust economy, dynamic foreign investments and a young and educated workforce.
Completing the ASEAN growth story is Singapore, which continues to serve as the region's hub, providing robust financial and regulatory frameworks that build investor confidence.
The interesting dynamic between these countries is one of the reasons why more investors in GCC are turning to the region as a safe haven for sustained growth. Speaking about the importance of the joint initiative, Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC, said,“We want to provide investors and businesses in our region insights not only to the current opportunities in Southeast Asia, but also help them to see into the future to enable strategic investment and business expansion decisions.
This roundtable QFC is jointly hosting with Golden Gate Ventures provides investors and businesses that competitive edge.
” Al Jaida added,“The insights shared in this roundtable will go a long way in helping to create a strong startup ecosystem that enables innovation and helps our businesses compete on the global stage.”
Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner at Golden Gate Ventures, commenting on the event said,“It is an honour to partner with QFC on this effort to strengthen the Southeast-Southwest Asia Golden Corridor:
GCC countries look to ASEAN for investment opportunities; ASEAN startups look for ways to expand into the Gulf region; and the startup ecosystems in both regions can learn so much from one another.”
GCC and ASEAN have steadily built ties as far back as a decade ago and in recent years, co-operation has expanded far beyond non-oil sectors to include fintech, climate tech, LNG, B2B SaaS and digital assets.
These high-growth sectors are common across both regions, providing opportunities for businesses in these sectors to expand into each region. This helps to drive innovation in these sectors at a faster pace, helping startups to level up for global expansion.
Both regions, for example, still have a sizable part of their population that remains unbanked, so there are many opportunities for startups in both regions to learn from one another and develop fintech ecosystems to serve this group.
With a greater emphasis on alternative energy sources, the LNG (liquefied natural gas) sector offers another bright spark in both regions as well.
Vietnam approved a power plan to boost the use of LNG by 2030 just days ago, paving the way to develop this sector in both Vietnam and Qatar.
Accelerating the growth of Qatar's startup ecosystem As the nation drives ahead with the Qatar National Vision 2030 to reduce its reliance on oil and gas, and instead invest more in entrepreneurship and business development, startups are becoming an increasingly important economic pillar.
In line with this, one of the roundtable discussion areas centred around the key elements of creating a successful startup ecosystem. Southeast Asia's startup ecosystem was established slightly over a decade ago, and Golden Gate Ventures, one of the pioneering venture capital firms at the time, along with some of the startups established in those early days discussed the importance of bringing together the right ecosystem players to accelerate entrepreneurship.
Financial capital aside, the roundtable delegates discussed the importance of bringing together the right human and social capital. This is an area that venture capital firms can contribute by supporting founders with the right industry connections, helping them open the right doors and enabling talent development in the startups.