March 9, 2023

What to expect from IGNITE at DIHAD: Green Entrepreneurship Rising

SPARK's CEO, Yannick du Pont, and panelists during 2022 DIHAD conference @ 2022, DIHAD

Next week, SPARK will host its IGNITE event focused on ‘Green Entrepreneurship Rising’ during Dubai’s DIHAD conference. Don’t miss it!

On Tuesday 14th March, the SPARK-organised series of panel discussions and keynotes at DIHAD will bring together green entrepreneurs, impact investors, as well as NGOs and policymakers from across the Middle East and Africa. We will discuss the challenges facing green startups and SMEs in accessing finance and building capacity to create new, sustainable jobs.

What’s on the agenda at DIHAD?
On Tuesday 14th March, SPARK’s CEO, Yannick du Pont, will be chairing a session on ‘Harnessing Resources for Inclusive, Equitable Quality Education’ between 11:15-12:45.


  • Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education
  • Dr. Waleed Al Ali, Secretary General, The Digital School, UAE
  • Alvaro Biel, Head Government and Foundations Partnerships, Udacity Middle East and Asia

Between 15:30-17:30 during the SPARK-organised panel discussions on ‘Green Entrepreneurship Rising’, a total of nine speakers will bring their green entrepreneurship expertise to the stage at DIHAD moderated by Omar Christidis, the CEO of Arabnet.

Keynote: Omar Itani, Co-founder of FabricAID, Lebanon
Hear from Omar Itani, the co-founder and CEO of FabricAID,  the largest second-hand clothing collector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. 

Panel: Green Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets
Despite interest and willingness, green entrepreneurs in emerging markets face significant barriers that hinder their ability to succeed, such as lack of support and resources, cultural and societal obstacles, difficulties in finding the right partners, regulatory hurdles and exporting challenges. 


  • Alessandro Villa, Deputy Head of Unit for Middle East, Central Asia (Directorate General for International Partnership) at the EU
  • Aline Bussmann, Co-Director of Cewas
  • Murat Sungur Bursa, President of Sustainability Academy, Türkiye

Keynote: H.E. Salma Al Qubaisi, President of Salma Al Qubaisi Holding and a leading tech investor
Hear from H.E. Salma Al Qubaisi, President of Salma Al Qubaisi Holding and a leading tech investor, who will tell her story as an innovative investor in green startups and businesses.

Panel: A Green Challenge: Access to Finance
Green startups and SMEs often face challenges accessing the finance they need to start or grow their businesses. Panelists will discuss the different financing options available and how entrepreneurs can best position themselves to secure funding.


  • Sky Kurtz, CEO of Pure Harvest
  • Lola Fernandez Flores, Senior Investment Associate at VentureSouq
  • Yannick du Pont, CEO of SPARK

Why Green Entrepreneurship?
The green sector is a high-growth sector with the potential to create 24 million jobs before 2030. Aside from helping the environment, greening the economy requires a multitude of different skills, thereby generating millions of job opportunities in virtually every sector, from tourism to agriculture. However, business-owners living in fragile and conflict-affected regions face many hurdles that limit their ability to succeed and adapt to the green sector. In order for these entrepreneurs to fully benefit from the opportunities of ‘going green,’ support is required for them to catch up with global green trends in terms of knowledge, skills and access to finance.