For the second consecutive year, The Big 5 – the region’s largest construction event, will host local and international start-ups at its dedicated “Start-up City”. Here, participating companies will present the most disruptive technologies that will shape the future of the construction industry.
We spoke to Aref Boualwan, Senior Manager Digital Transformation & Strategy at
Consolidated Contractor's Company (CCC), which is supporting The Big 5 Start-up City. Here's what he told us ahead of the event:
What are the major developments in the start-up ecosystem in the region?
The entrepreneurship ecosystem is gaining momentum year after year with lots of governments realizing the significance of creating support structures to nurture the rising ideas locally as well as attract foreign startups.
Investors are injecting more money with success stories of exits and acquisitions offering further trust in the great potentials at stake. Several international and regional incubators, accelerators and start-up hubs are spreading across the region with some universities joining forces as well.
All in all, we hope to witness soon a construction technology startup highlighted as one of the unicorns founded in the middle east.
How can start-ups contribute to the advancement of the construction sector?
Startups play a big role in digitizing the construction industry, an industry that has lacked behind when it comes to technological advancements and counted as one of the least automated industries.
Construction technology start-ups could help support the construction industry to put an end to the expansion of construction schedules, the continuous increase in labor and material costs as well as improving quality and safety. With the increase in complexity of construction projects in the region and the tough market conditions, I believe we might see the GCC construction scene at a cusp of a new, ever evolving era of engaging construction technology startups.
Nevertheless, and what I believe is of equal importance, is for start-ups to partner with a major player in the construction scene; for instance, at CCC, we provide the full startup ecosystem ranging from diversified subject matter experts, to in-depth industry expertise, to live project environment for proof of concept pilots; the latter would aid in this advancement by bridging the gap between startups and project owners thus providing the domain specific knowledge required to digitize our industry.
Why did you decide to support The Big 5 Start-up City platform?
Last year, we were engaged early on with Start-up City and shared the invitation to many of the startups in our pipeline. We strongly believe it is a must for such a prominent event at the scale of The Big 5 to pave the way for construction technology startups to showcase their solutions and gain the exposure to a huge audience of professionals from different backgrounds.
What role do these platforms play in providing opportunities to industry stakeholders?
For a start, the competition presents a means for startups to have monetary as well as media benefits. In addition, by engaging with the different companies and attendees in The Big 5, startups might be able to generate new leads for potential partnerships and investments on the verge of maturing their product offerings.
Finally, getting in contact with strategic partners with in-depth knowledge of the construction industry can play a major role in providing opportunities for the startups to further develop their minimum viable product
About Aref Boualwan -
A proven track record as a professional with a business vision, hard-core technical skills and the ability to motivate/bring people together. A career of building business through innovation & technology. Occupied Executive & Senior Managerial positions in Digital Transformation, MIS, & Software Development; adding great value to the organization by realising the full power of technology to drive the business.
Develops strategic partnerships with Startups that build disruptive technologies. Leverages alliances to source Innovation, add competitive advantage to the business & create new business lines/opportunities. Resides on the Board of Directors of technology Startups. Also holds “Strategy Officer” position at the “World Economic Forum” involved in decision-making by shaping Forum initiatives, workshops, research, and projects as well as implementing innovative solutions to support the industry’s transformation.
Recognized commentator and speaker at events organized by the United Nations, EU Arab Summit, BuiltWorlds Summit, The Big 5, The Solar Show, ArabNet Digital Summit, Construction Tech. Forum, etc. Opinion cited in Reuters, Business Green, Yahoo Finance, Forbes Middle East, MEED, MTV, Euro2Day, BusinessNews, Business Insider, Markets Insider, Middle East Construction, etc.
About CCC -
Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) is a global leader in the engineering and construction industry. Established in 1952 and operating worldwide, CCC has provided more than 65 years of project management, engineering, procurement and construction services to the industry, and currently employs around 150,000 people internationally with 44 active projects worldwide and $7.0B total revenue managed. The company's landmark construction projects include the Dubai Mall, the Abu Dhabi International Airport - Midfield Terminal Building, residential towers, hotels, power stations and renewable energy projects, metro projects, water and sewage treatment plants and networks, roads and bridges, industrial and process plants and pipelines around the world.
Learn more about The Big 5 HERE