A successful trade and startup delegation

Last year, an Amsterdam delegation visited the Middle Eastern cities of Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. During the trade mission, the two nations took steps to make it simpler for Amsterdam businesses to expand into the Middle East – and vice versa. The trip was organised by StartupAmsterdam, Amsterdam Trade, Dubai Startup Hub and a number of other partners.

A big part of the delegation was the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Startup Bootcamp 2017. Organised by us at StartupAmsterdam, the three-day intensive programme introduced Dutch startups to the tourism, AI, smart city and – of course – startup scene in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

In addition, the startups gained valuable insights from lead users, peers and industry experts on a soft landing in the Middle East – as well as on how to expand and scale their businesses into the market. There were also networking sessions and pitch sessions to introduce the startups to the area’s investors and launching customers.

Amsterdam startup grows into Middle East market

One startup that took part in the bootcamp was Amsterdam-based ProctorExam, which offers cloud-based proctoring software. The company essentially makes online exams safer, more transparent and more cost effective. Naturally, this technology is ideal for the education sector, but companies across other industries – Philips Healthcare, for one – have already signed up, too.

ProctorExam has now successfully expanded into the Middle East. Clearly, the startup learned a lot from the bootcamp and took some invaluable contacts and lessons away from it. In fact, it found a partner during the delegation, which ultimately led to its expansion.

The company’s new partnership with Dubai-based Strategy Directives – which focuses on providing learning programmes for students, teachers, HR and more in the MENA region – is an example of how beneficial trade missions and bootcamps can be for companies in Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem.