This year’s conscious tech summit marks ten years of fruitful returns in emerging markets, but also a critical point for the next decade - something relfected in the theme, 'Harvest'.
It’s summit season in Egypt and while we’ve been swimming in panel discussions and fireside chats in recent weeks, one summit has yet to come - one that tackles the innovations weeping through emerging markets home and away through a markedly different prism.
Vested Summit is an occasion that has long been proclaimed as the ‘world’s largest conscious-tech summit’ - an ambitious claim, but one that continues to be backed-up year after year. A unique gathering that continues to garner more followers for its #ConciousTechies movement, Vested Summit champions ‘tech for good’ and sits at a crux in the evolution of technology-driven innovation and its applications, addressing and spotlighting its impact.
Now in its fourth year, the summit is, by proclamation of its leaders, ‘built for real-time problem solving’, it’s a fluid, adaptable movement, something reflected in this year’s theme: Harvest. For founder and CEO of Vested Summit (and S[k]aleUp Ventures, the VC and private equity firm that powers it), Salma El Hariry, this year’s ‘Investment Edition’ - taking place on December 11th and 12th - has come at a critical time.
“The ecosystems in emerging markets, whether Egypt or India, Eastern Europe or Africa, started budding in around 2011,” she explains to StartupScene. “So this edition marks 10 years of seeding all the support for startups, the rise of incubators and accelerators, the increase of VCs, global deals, IPOs, exits.”
“Now it’s time to harvest those results, those achievements,” she continues. “It’s about taking a pause, reflecting and celebrating the wins of the seeds and enjoying the harvest.”
Celebration is only one part of the equation for El Hariry, however, and this retrospective must make way for another decade of evolution and innovation. “It’s also about planting seeds for the next ten years, for what we hope to see,” El Heriry adds, reminding herself that Vested Summit is, ultimately, focused on impact.”
For El Heriry and the Vested Summit team, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are in the crosshairs, as 2030 suddenly seems oh so close. She cites this as a prime example of why Vested Summit came to be - these kinds of goals really do take a village to achieve and the summit, first and foremost, offers a space for that village to form, a space for bonds and relations to be forged - for the #ConciousTechie movement to grow.
By (pandemic-driven) coincidence or design, one thing that has played perfectly into the summit’s efforts to be an all-reaching, all-encompassing, global meeting place is its switch to a virtual format last year. While purists will romanticise the live, in-person experience of an event intended to bring people closer together, Vested Summit 2020 garnered over 120,000 views across Facebook and LinkedIn, from over 70 countries.“You're broadcasting to the world,” El Heriry says, “It’s all about exposure.”
It’s a sentiment reflected by the summit’s VP, Hala Gabr, who has hailed the virtual format for playing a large part in accessing the kind of emerging markets the summit was created to champion.
“We’re able to reach out to masses of people in areas we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach,” she tells StartupScene. “It’s also aligned with how we want Vested Summit to be - as an educational arm of S[k]aleUp Ventures, to reach out to these markets, these underdogs.”
That educational aspect, coupled with this idea of a movement, has bred a community around the summit, despite Gabr’s admission that the physical human connection in the context of Vested being a ‘destination summit’ that has been held in the likes of El Gouna and Sahl Hasheesh, can make a difference. However, the diversity of the summit's speakers, the variety of topics being discussed and even the interactive element that allow the audience to interact with speakers have kept momentum in the summit’s favour.
So who can you look forward to typing out questions to? Among the highlights of this year’s 60-plus speakers include co-founder of Cloudera, ex-VP of Google Cloud Yahoo, and general trailblazer of the data space, Amr Awadallah; Executive VP & Managing Director, EMEA & North America at AirQueenGroup, Mohammed E. AlFardan; Luxembourg-based economist and international consultant, Moahmed Sameh; Managing Partner at Disruptech Ventures, Moahmed Okasha, and many many more from every corner of the planet, across a whole host of topics.
While the summit takes place on the 11th and 12th of December, the 10th will see a few appetiser talks, if you will, take place. Check out the agenda and registration details at www.vestedsummit.com.