Back for its third annual cycle, the esteemed competition gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to become part of Dubai Government's Strategy to elevate the city into a global platform for Innovation focused businesses. This year we open the competition to startups who have solutions in the fields of Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation. Open to all entrepreneurs based in the UAE, participants are required to submit their business ideas in line with these categories. The entries will be critiqued by a high-level judging panel. Participants who reach the final rounds will attend two full-day workshops on sector-specific training, mentorship, building relationships, and developing a full business plan.The first three winners will also receive a cash prize and the opportunity to join a number of the Dubai Startup Hubs annual programmes.

Full Criteria and eligibility for entering can be found under the submit your application page.


This year's categories are undoubtedly key drivers in Dubai's Strategy to become the City of the Future, here you will find a little more detail on the themes:


And almost overnight, Blockchain arrived in full force. Cutting out the middle man for transactions, the technology can be programmed to record virtually everything of value. With this comes huge potential to radically change the financial service sector and transform the way transactions are carried out. The most popular application today is undoubtedly cryptocurrency, but Blockchain could be used for everything from data management to regulatory compliance, auditing, smart contracts, quality assurance, securities and commodities trading to voting.

Artificial Intelligence

It's clear AI is revolutionizing businesses across the globe, the theory and development of computer systems to be able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages is here and has been for some time. Now, businesses can practically apply these solutions in the workplace with chatbots, virtual assistants, machine learning contracts, vision systems to name just a few. AI is the latest in technologies that can allow us to produce a greater number of goods and services with less labor.

Digital Transformation

The essence of digital transformation is the creation of new business and growth models leveraging existing and emerging technology, take Siri and Alexa as prime examples of how traditional consumer service has been disrupted by voice and visual, offering consumers a more intuitive way to interact with everyday technology. Today anything from ordering groceries to saving lives can be taken care of in a rapid, hands free manner.


AED 150,000
Total in prize money for Top three finalists

Startup support package, which includes:
MarketAccess programme
Legal Assistance
Financial Advice
Fundraising and Mentorship opportunities
Overseas Trade Missions, Dubai Chamber Events and trainings





To recap on last year's competition, H.E. Hisham Al Shirawi highlighted the importance of the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition, which has become a key platform for recognising and developing innovative ideas that have the potential to improve the local business environment and the wider society. H.E. Al Shirawi said: “The benefits of this competition go far beyond financial rewards. Participants also get a unique chance to network with industry influencers, interact with mentors, and gain valuable feedback needed to improve and grow their businesses.”


Submission deadline 9th April 2018

About Dubai Startup Hub

Dubai Startup Hub is a semi-government initiative rooted in Dubai Chamber, the main purpose is to provide clarity and direction in the journey of a startup entrepreneur. To listen, to reflect and guide them along the way. We collaborate with the most experienced & trusted partners to exchange essential and up-to-date information that answers all essential entrepreneurial questions. Ensuring startups have access to the resources needed to accomplish their goals and comforting them in the choices they make.


About Dubai Chamber

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 1965. It is a non-profit public organization whose mission is to represent, support, and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai. It does so by creating a favourable environment; promoting Dubai as an international business hub and by supporting the development of business.

Learn More