the leading tech festival
for emerging markets



Regular tickets are on sale! Buy before:

step digital

STEP Digital tackles the latest global trends in digital marketing, brands, advertising tech, and content. Brand Managers, CMOs, Influencers, and digital gurus take the stage, host workshops, and network to also meet startups in the digital media space.

What We Cover

Brands & advertising
Stories from brands on staying relevant in the digital age with insights on the evolution of consumer behavior, and the use datasets in digital platforms.
Publishers & Platforms
Publishers moving from print to digital. How is technology enhancing readers experiences through backend technologies like AI.
Programmatic Ads & Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence development in the programmatic advertising space, debating the survival of agencies and their advancement.
Influencers & Content
Influencers collaborating with brands, and content evolving in formats and contexts. Discussing the importance to publicly disclose relationships, and the involvement of regulatory bodies in the process.
 

2020 Speakers

More Speakers Will be Announced Soon

Nadim
Habr

Designhubz

Nadim
Habr

Designhubz

Nadim Habr is the founder and CEO of Designhubz, a SaaS that enables e-commerce retailers to sell their products in 3D & Augmented Reality (AR) on their websites and apps. Designhubz’ Robotic Rigs enable instant digitization of physical inventories and its ‘XR Commerce platform’ allows selling the products in Full 3D and Web-based AR to let retailers run highly interactive online stores. Nadim was awarded the 2019 Distinguished Young Alumnus Award from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Prior to starting Designhubz, Nadim founded AutoTech in 2014, a boutique one-stop-shop for supercars that started designing its own electric supercar before being sold in 2015. After AutoTech, he worked for 4 years as a Business Development and Technical lead at a regional maritime company based in UAE where he developed accounts with Oil & Gas majors. Nadim holds a BE in Mechanical Engineering from AUB, and a degree in Automotive Technology & Advanced Systems from the Universal Technical Institute of Pennsylvania. He joined Mercedes-Benz USA in Los Angeles after his graduation.

Zeina
Akkawi

Paz Marketing Management

Zeina
Akkawi

Paz Marketing Management

- 20 years of experience specialized in Marketing, Events & PR management. Part of the StartUpSchool.me government initiative, a member at the Women Council and a Community Activist focusing on CSR in the UAE - A marketing and PR professional, speaker and mentor; specialized in training entrepreneurs, promoting brands/organizations; and assisting in developing corporate and individual image and identity - A brand consultant with a role to build Marketing platforms for companies - Board Member with the Arab Fashion Council - Mentor on Chatello App (Download Now on Android and Iphone) - Podcast Host and Founder of 30mn with Zeina

Amy
Jones

Augustus

Amy
Jones

Augustus

Amy is the Content Director at Augustus, known for Lovin Dubai, Lovin Saudi, SMASHI tv and its content studio ODEUM. She started her career in London, specialising in Entertainment marketing – working for clients including Sony Pictures, Paramount and Universal Music, before making the move to Dubai in 2018. As Content Director she oversees all content output across brands, both commercial and editorial.

Christian
Eid

The Duck Way

Christian
Eid

The Duck Way

A start-upper for over 10 years with a spanning a career across the Middle East and North America building brands that make us proud.

Shaheen
Al-Khudhari

Ajar

Shaheen
Al-Khudhari

Ajar

Shaheen AlKhudhari is the Founder & CEO of Ajar Online. Shaheen holds a Bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). Starting his career as an accountant, Shaheen now has over 10 years of experience working in a variety of fields including logistics, real estate, finance, and IT. In 2016, Shaheen founded Ajar Online to solve a personal frustration that he faced while paying rent through traditional means. Since then, he has grown Ajar Online to be the leading property management and rent collection solution in the Middle East.

Shams
Al-Attar

Augustus Media

Shams
Al-Attar

Augustus Media

Born and raised in New Zealand with a degree in International Business & Management, Shams has been in the UAE for 6 years working in Advertising, media and startups. She has a passion for the startup ecosystem and everything tech related. She loves connecting with people and is an advocate for youth empowerment.

Elijah
Whaley

PARKLU

Elijah
Whaley

PARKLU

Elijah Whaley is a content producer, marketer, and a leading voice for influencer marketing innovation in China. Elijah has seven years of experience in China’s influencer marketing space. Elijah is the Chief Marketing Officer at PARKLU, China’s premier influencer marketing tech platform. Elijah is also the Cofounder of the Chinese beauty KOL Melilim Fu. Melilim is a top ranking beauty KOL in China.

Moe
Hamzeh

Warner Music Middle East

Moe
Hamzeh

Warner Music Middle East

Moe Hamzeh was appointed Managing Director of Warner Middle East in February 2018. The newly formed organisation, based in Beirut, covers all the MENA region. Moe began his career in the music industry in 1998 as a Label Manager with Warner Music’s regional licensee at the time Music Master, overseeing the marketing & distribution in Lebanon. He then founded Temple Entertainment, an independent label and publisher, before working for Virgin Megastores, as a Product Marketing Manager. In 2008, he joined Melody Music Group as a General Manager. In 2012, he took up the role of Head of Content form M.Media, a V.O.D platform for Lebanese and regional movies, documentaries and series.

Stephanie
Atala

Influencer

Stephanie
Atala

Influencer

Stephanie Atala is an actor and singer. The French and Lebanese artist is based in Beirut. In 2020, Stephanie is starring as Lina, the protagonist in the feature film Farah (psychological thriller) co-directed by Hassiba Freiha and Kenton Oxley. Her most recent TV appearance is on Hadeth Aleb where she leads as Samar. As for her most recent on stage appearance, she plays a main role in Georges Khabbaz’ theater production Bel Kawalis. Stephanie hosts an online weekly show Kazdoura where she enjoys two of her favorite things: Comedy and Food. Joining her passions, Stephanie took part in a trilogy of music videos: In circle in 2017. She sang, acted and danced starring as «Nadine» in the film directed by Rachel Meg and shot in Los Angeles.

Mike
Fairburn

Mike Fairburn

Mike
Fairburn

Mike Fairburn

Mike leads the company in a dynamic, fast growing region that spans a vast market comprising Egypt, Lebanon, the Gulf countries and Pakistan amongst others. The labels head office in Dubai drives creative innovation for MENA talent through world class A&R, Creative Marketing & Promotions, Streaming and Global Distribution, Brand Partnerships and Live. Prior to joining Sony Music, Mike spent six years as CMO at the region’s biggest entertainment company – FLASH Entertainment. Mike arrived in the UAE in 2007 after a number of years in music and entertainment in the UK. He was part of the teams that launched global music and lifestyle concepts for Coca-Cola, Diageo, Orange and LVMH, working in China, Europe and the US. Mike also provided music consultancy to Orange UK and France Telecom, and developed sports and festival sponsorships for Johnnie Walker, Motorola and more. Mike is a founder member and Vice Chairman of the Marketing Society Middle East.

Ralph
Haiby

Sikasok

Ralph
Haiby

Sikasok

Ralph is the co-founder of Sikasok. He heads the operations in Lebanon & UAE along with the value-chain from supply to distribution, MarCom, & business development. Prior to Sikasok, Ralph worked in management consulting on Asia Pacific & GCC - wide projects; his projects have spanned growth strategies, B2B client acquisition strategies, and e-commerce business model evolution. Ralph has gained valuable work experience in project management, finance, and management consulting across the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Sweden. He graduated from the American University of Beirut with a degree in Economics.

Aws
Alnabulsi

Gamiphy

Aws
Alnabulsi

Gamiphy

Aws Alnabulsi, Chief Executive Officer of Gamiphy. With over 10 years of technology entrepreneurship and experience analyzing, optimizing, and delivering products, adopting a data-driven approach in the different aspects of building a business. Founded Gamiphy in late 2017 to become the dominant customer loyalty and gamification provider.

Tala
Samman

Myfashdiary

Tala
Samman

Myfashdiary

Tala Samman biography Having grown up in Dubai, Tala Samman calls the city her home. Born in Chicago to Syrian parents, Tala graduated from the London College of Fashion, and started the first blog to come out of the UAE, myfashdiary.com while studying and working at the Tom Ford headquarters in London. Tala moved back home to Dubai to work for Conde Nast, and eventually left to focus on expanding her site and focusing on her love for music. Tala currently runs her blog and DJs. Having expanded from a fashion blog, to a lifestyle site - Tala shares her experiences and regimens when it comes to beauty, travel, fitness and food. A brand ambassador for Breitling, Tala has also partnered up with Net-a-porter, Bobbi Brown, Sephora and Pantene. She also serves as a content creator for thehuntr.com and Hello! Magazine. Focusing on her music, Tala opened for Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey, and plays for high profile events across the GCC - from luxury events for Michael Kors, Tod’s, and Jimmy Choo to streetwear parties for Adidas, Puma, Off White and Sole DXB.

Zahra
Khan

Feya London

Zahra
Khan

Feya London

Chef Zahra Khan is 28 years old entrepreneur who made the bold choice of becoming the mother of two little girls while opening two cafes (@FEYACAFE) and a dessert shop (@DYCELDN) in less than two years. Restless mindful, ambitious, she is a role-model for all women who want to fulfil their entrepreneurial and motherhood dreams. Connect with her on Instagram @ChefZahraKhan

Hamish
McPharlin

BBC Global News

Hamish
McPharlin

BBC Global News

Dr Hamish McPharlin is Head of Insight at BBC Global News. His research team track the health and consumption of the BBC News brand worldwide, using the latest in analysis technologies and data visualisation techniques. In addition, his audience research programme assists in optimising advertising strategy on BBC World News and BBC.com. Prior to the BBC, Hamish was Director of Research at award-winning London-based research agency Decipher for 10 years. He has a Marketing Degree and a PHD in Communications Studies from Murdoch University.

Marco
Bertozzi

Spotify

Marco
Bertozzi

Spotify

Marco Bertozzi is VP of Advertising Sales, EMEA at Spotify, responsible for the streaming company's advertising revenue throughout the region. He began his career as a TV buyer at Zenith Optimedia, where he rose to Head of Digital. Since then he has held various senior leadership roles at Zenith, Vivaki and Starcom, specialising in programmatic strategy, Audience On Demand, addressable media and performance marketing. A regular contributor to Campaign on programmatic-related topics, Marco joined Spotify in January 2017 and is especially excited about the opportunities for programmatic audio and data innovation at the company.

Omar
Chihane

Englease.com

Omar
Chihane

Englease.com

Omar is the founder and CEO of englease.com the region's most effective online English teaching platform. In less than 6 months Englease.com has signed on some of the region's largest corporates, have had thousands of registrations and is the GTM lead partner of a Global handset manufacturer in 5 countries. Omar is a corporate veteran and growing social media personality with a deep understanding of building network power, having built a platform of over 1million followers across the MENA region in less than 11 months Prior to Englease.com, Omar spent years leading organizations both regionally and globally with Siemens, Nokia and most notably Microsoft where he led one of their consumer divisions globally Omar hold an MBA from London Business School and has been living in Dubai since 2008.

Charles
Schreger

NYU

Charles
Schreger

NYU

Former president of HBO Enterprises, currently marketing professor at NYU Stern School of Business, visiting professor at American University in Dubai and former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times.

Erica
Kerner

ONE Championship

Erica
Kerner

ONE Championship

Erica Kerner is currently Sr. Advisor at ONE Championship – Asia’s largest Sports Media Property. She was formerly Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Tiffany & Co. Asia Pacific. In this role, she was responsible for all aspects of Tiffany’s marketing and communications planning, strategy and implementation across all retail channels and all Asia Pacific countries. She held a similar position at Ralph Lauren prior to joining Tiffany in 2013 and brings to her role more than 20 years of marketing experience in Asia Pacific, specifically Greater China. Working for Adidas as director of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, she was responsible for all aspects of the company’s marketing, sponsorship, licensing and business development activities. She and her team won China’s first-ever Cannes Gold Lion for the adidas Olympics campaign. Erica held the same role for adidas at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Before joining Adidas, Erica was Director of Marketing and Communications for Special Olympics China, helping to develop the program from 50,000 to 500,000 participants. In addition, as an account director at J. Walter Thompson Shanghai, she was responsible for creative advertising development, product development and retail marketing for DeBeers and PepsiCo. She also worked at Nike in various roles including director of international marketing for Nike Retail and Asia Pacific marketing manager. Erica started her marketing and advertising career at Bates Advertising in Taiwan working on multi-national clients. Erica graduated cum laude from Tufts University in 1989 with a degree in international relations. She is also a founding steering board member of The Marketing Society Asia and Chairman of the Marketing Society South East Asia.

Melissa
Rosenthal

Inspo

Melissa
Rosenthal

Inspo

Melissa is the co-founder of Inspo, a text-tech and publishing network for Gen Z Previously, Melissa held executive positions at Cheddar, a live video media company at the intersection of business news and culture, which was acquired by Altice, and BuzzFeed. For her creative work in advertising, she was named to Forbes 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday's Changemakers.

Maaz
Sheikh

STARZPLAY

Maaz
Sheikh

STARZPLAY

Maaz Sheikh co-founded STARZPLAY, the subscription video on demand service that streams to 20 countries across the Middle East and North Africa. AS CEO, he has led the company’s corporate and operational activities since it was established in 2014, driving its continued growth and expansion across the MENA region.

Hande
Cilingir

Insider

Hande
Cilingir

Insider

A 1X Enterpreneur and currently one of the Co-founders and Chief Executive Officer of Insider, Hande Cilingir is responsible for running efficient operations, building a strong company culture, managing overseas growth, supporting sales and marketing teams, sharing and developing Insider’s technology over 24 offices globally.

Juan
de-Lascurain

Dream big

Juan
de-Lascurain

Dream big

Juan de Lascurain is a designer - entrepreneur from Mexico city. A former tenis player and triathlete who was encouraged to paint by a lady that saw him doodling on a napkin. He started the Dream big brand in 2008 with the purpose of inspiring people to follow their dreams. Today he travels around the world sharing his story. Commercializing his designs and doing collaborations with tourist destinations like the Burj Khalifa, Kleenex and many others.

Jeffrey
Cafone

Inspo

Jeffrey
Cafone

Inspo

Serial entrepreneur, co-founder of Inspo Text Tech and publishing network for Gen Z. Formerly founder/designer of plus-size women's fashion brand All 67.

Mohammed
Tayem

Entourage Marketing & Events LLC

Mohammed
Tayem

Entourage Marketing & Events LLC

As a career entrepreneur, Mohammed Tayem has always seen opportunities for value creation when others planned an exit strategy. Mohammed established live communication agency entourage during the global financial crisis in 2008 at a time when international networks were closing. The idea was to partner with brands and tell their story going beyond the SLA model. Today entourage serves Google, LinkedIn, Prime Minister’s Office of the UAE and more, with dozens of industry accolades over the decade. The success of entourage inspired expansion into different industries: f&b, production solutions, outdoor media locations supply, education and digital publishing.

Jonathan
SIBONI

Luxurynsight

Jonathan
SIBONI

Luxurynsight

After a global corporate career that started at PWC and continued at Oracle, Emre decided to become an entrepreneur. Emre has founded, managed and scaled-up 4 technology start-ups with the help of top tier accelerators such as 500 Start-ups, and Techstars. He also took part in Executive Leadership Program at UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business. Emre has more than 15 years of experience in sales, business development, marketing, mobile, enterprise software, product, and Co-Founder & CEO of Luxurynsight, luxury market expert, Visiting Professor of luxury at Sciences Po Paris. Official China expert at Business France, Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI Paris), French Federation of Female Ready-to-Wear (FFPAPF), and the Committee of Development and Promotion of Apparel (DEFI).

Emre
FADILLIOGLU

Interceptd

Emre
FADILLIOGLU

Interceptd

After a global corporate career that started at PWC and continued at Oracle, Emre decided to become an entrepreneur. Emre has founded, managed and scaled-up 4 technology start-ups with the help of top tier accelerators such as 500 Start-ups, and Techstars. He also took part in Executive Leadership Program at UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business. Emre has more than 15 years of experience in sales, business development, marketing, mobile, enterprise software, product, and team building. Emre is obsessed with the company culture and proud of attracting great talents to App Samurai and Interceptd.

Eman
Hylooz

Abjjad

Eman
Hylooz

Abjjad

I’m Eman Hylooz, founder & CEO of Abjjad, the biggest social reading platform with a community of 1,000,000 members where they rate, review, and get unlimited access to Arabic eBooks.

Yasmine
Rasool

Sunny Isle Studios

Yasmine
Rasool

Sunny Isle Studios

Yasmine is a Tech Entrepreneur focusing on Arabian social apps including Waastaa, Halla Walla and Wain Waleed. As Co-Founder of Sunny Isle Studios, she and her team aim to create social apps for the Arab social future. Yasmine is also a Cultural Advisor for the last 8 years with a passion for Art, Music and Film, and is an avid member of the culture scene in the UAE, London and New York. She believes in supporting regional artists internationally, and do so through her cultural investment platform, Yellow. Throughout her travels she has an extensive network of museums, galleries and auction houses with whom she collaborates regularly. Focusing mainly on broadening her understanding of the field, stay up to date with developments and build her creative and cultural network. A regular attendee at International Tech and Art Fairs, Yasmine is social and loves to constantly connect with people from around the world through storytelling to broaden her understanding, spark development and build her creative and cultural network.

STEP Digital Partners

STEP Digital Knowledge Partners

STEP Digital Exhibitors

STEP Digital Ecosystem Partners