Local Digital Middle East 2020

“Gathering the MENA region’s local digital ecosystem to learn, partner and grow”

Thanks to All Who Supported Local Digital Middle East 2020

“Advancing the MENA Local Digital Ecosystem”

Helping local MENA businesses to use digital solutions to get found online, to find and grow customers, and to operate their businesses more efficiently is a vast opportunity. Local Digital Middle East assembled this solutions ecosystem for a packed day of knowledge sharing, networking, and partnership formation.


Who Should Attend?

Anyone interested in developing business in the local and SME markets in the MENA region should attend, including:

B2B startups 
Data providers
Digital solutions providers
Digital mapping platforms
Digital marketing professionals
Domain registrars
Government business incubators
Media publishers
Online directory businesses
Postal services

SaaS platforms
…and more

Space is limited and this event is expected to sell out


February 4, 2020

7:30 – 8:30
Refreshments and Registration

Coffee and tea will be served as delegates arrive, are greeted by the BigFive Digital team and collect their badges. Delegates are encouraged to network with peers and visit our sponsors during this period. 

8:30 – 9:00
Welcome and Presentation of Research 

The event hosts will welcome the delegates and present findings of an executive survey conducted among likely delegates to capture their views on the key opportunities and challenges facing the MENA region. 

09:00 – 09:30
Featured Speaker: Selina Bieber

“Digital Transformation for Local MENA Businesses”

Selina Bieber is Senior Regional Director for Turkey, MENA, and South Africa at GoDaddy. She will open our event with a talk outlining the path to digital transformation for local businesses in the region.

09:30 – 10:00
Featured Speaker:
Andrew Thomas

“Leveraging Digital for Growth” 

Nexa Managing Director Andrew Thomas is a digital marketing agency veteran who advises brands and local businesses in the region on how best to apply digital tools to grow their businesses. He will share what he has learned about what works in the region, a lesson that applies equally to brands, media publishers, and startups.

10:00 – 10:30
Networking Break

Refreshments will be served. Delegates are encouraged to network with peers and visit with our sponsors during this break. 

10:30 – 11:00
Executive Interview:
Thea Myhrvold

We’re excited to have the opportunity to chat with UAE-based entrepreneur Thea Myhrvold, founder of GetBEE, a B2B platform for online knowledge sharing, and TeachMeNow, an online person-to-person learning platform. We’ll discuss the UAE digital and startup environments, as well as the challenges and opportunities for female entrepreneurs in the region.

11:00 – 11:45

Panel Discussion

“Building the MENA Local Digital Ecosystem”

Helping local businesses acquire and use the digital products and services they need to compete requires partnerships among those building the solutions local businesses need and resellers with trusted relationships with small businesses. This panel examines what it will take to perfect this ecosystem in the Middle East region.  

Speakers: Erik Bjerlestam, Sohail Nawaz, Wahid Aziz

11:45 – 12:00

Case Study 

“The Evolving Role of Small Business Websites”

More than ever, websites represent the only opportunity where small business owners truly own their content, can build brand trust and foster visitor engagement. In this presentation, Mono Solutions‘ Jasmine de Guzman will offer a fresh perspective on the purpose of a website and explains the importance of small business websites now and in the future.

Speakers: Jasmine de Guzman

12:00 – 13:00
Networking Lunch

A light lunch will be served. Delegates are encouraged to network with peers and visit with our sponsors during this break. 

13:00 – 13:30
Featured Speakers: Fadi Khater & Dimitri Papadimitriou

“First Impressions Matter: The Importance of Google My Business”

With 98% of all searches in MENA taking place on Google, having a complete Google Business Profile is the first step for any business in managing their online presence. Fadi & Dimitri, from Netizency, will discuss the importance and benefits of Google My Business and how local businesses can use their Profile to make a first impression that can drive revenue.

13:30 – 14:00
Featured Speaker: Namrata Balwani

“Data is Your Friend”

Building a data culture in a digital world is crucial for a business of any scale. Namrata Balwani operates at the intersection of business, marketing, and technology. She has led digital and data initiatives in the Middle East. Namrata will speak about the importance of data in customer experience and why local businesses must think beyond customer acquisition.   

14:00 – 14:30
Digital Dubai: The Local Business Perspective

A diverse collection of local businesses will join us to share their daily experiences with adopting digital tools to run their businesses. What is working for them, and where do they need the most help?

14:30 – 15:00
Key Takeaways

Our hosts will summarize key messages from the day’s events and invite the audience to share their impressions, experiences, and suggestions for future events.


Media Partner


Local Digital Middle East will take place at Google’s Dubai offices, located at DIC Building @4 – Office 306, TECOM Zone – Al Kawkab St – Dubai – United Arab Emirates.

Space is limited for this event. You are encouraged to register right away to secure your seat.

This event is sold out!


For those traveling to attend this event, BigFive Digital recommends the following hotels located a short distance from the event venue.

Media One Hotel 

Plot No.1 Al Falak St, Dubai Media City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

+971 4 427 1000

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City

Al Falak St, Dubai Media City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

+971 4 366 9111

Want to speak at or sponsor Local Digital Middle East?

Email us at info@bigfivedigital.org

About BigFive Digital

BigFive Digital is an events and membership organization fostering the local digital ecosystem in Africa and the Middle East around the BigFive pillars of location, mobile, payments, search and social.