For the ninth year in a row, STEP Conference will be holding its legendary tech festival this February. In partnership with Dubai Internet City and Dubai's Department of Tourism, STEP 2020 is all about leading "The World in Dubai."

The two-day event expects a turnout of over 8,000 attendees. With over 300 showcasing startups, talks and panels featuring multiple influential leaders and speakers, mentoring sessions, a pitch competition, the recently introduced "STEP Show," and more, attendees can expect no shortage of activities on Feb. 11 and 12. 

"As we enter a new era for STEP next year, in line with Expo 2020 and Vision 2021, we plan to attract entrepreneurs, startups, and tech companies that could potentially expand to Dubai and impact our business and talent landscape," Ray Dargham, CEO of STEP, said in a statement. 

The conference started off as a tiny meetup between entrepreneurs in the Arab world but has grown to become the leading tech festival for emerging markets in the region. 

The 5 tracks to look forward to this year

There's so much to do and so much to see and hear next month. Where to begin? It really depends on what you want to get out of the conference this year. 

STEP Start is the home base for founders, startups, and entrepreneurs to learn and share experiences while also getting the chance to meet with investors. In addition to the "meet-and-greet," attendees can also take part in the multiple activities offered as part of this branch. 

"As our ecosystem develops, we look forward to seeing more local success stories coming out of our communities and graduating with global recognition," said Managing Director of Dubai Internet City, Ammar Al Malik.

You also have STEP Digital, which tackles the latest global trends in digital marketing, brands, advertising tech, and content. Featured speakers - from managers to influencers - will host workshops, networking events and talks to the general audience. 

Enter STEP X, the stage known for featuring the latest in transport and autonomous tech, smart cities, IoT and Artificial Intelligence. This year, the stage will witness a discussion centered around the way the world will appear in 2050. 

"STEP offers the ideal platform forentrepreneurs and start-ups to bring forward the latest technologies and innovationsand will cement the emirate’s position as a leading technology hub for start-upslooking to progress and succeed in their fields," said CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism, Issam Kazim.

And we can't forget the money, right? The STEP Money stage hosts banks, fintech startups and regulators as speakers delve into the latest in financial technology, blockchain, digital currencies, wealth management and more.

Last but not least, the STEP Wellness and Lifestyle Track because what's life without health? This track will cover topics regarding the wellbeing of the mind, body, and soul, as well as the latest trends in tech and lifestyle.

What activities are available at STEP 2020?

  1. Startup Basecamp:
    Over 300 startups are expected to participate in the Basecamp to showcase their products and services.

  2. Pitch Competition:
    The aforementioned startups will get the opportunity to pitch their latest products and services to investors and experts.

  3. Talks & Workshops: 
    Speakers from different industries will take the stage to discuss various topics including startups, digital media, fintech, and future tech. Experts will also be giving workshops in areas that are of interest to attendees. 

  4. Mentor's Corner:
    Experts are at the ready for one-on-one and group mentoring sessions with both startups and entrepreneurs.

  5. STEP Match:
    Think of this as Tinder but for conference attendees. Via the STEP app, attendees will have the chance to match with other attendees, facilitating the process of networking ten-fold. 

  6. Investor Meetings:
    Startups and entrepreneurs can book one-on-one meetings with highly recognized investors from the Arab world and the Middle East.

  7. The Step Show:
    A talk show briefly introduced at Step Conference 2019 featuring international guests including Marie-Lou Nahhas from Orange is the New Black. 

  8. StartupNight Dubai by Dubai SME:
    A one week program in February targeting startups from six sectors; Transportation & Mobility, Aerospace, Energy efficiency, Medical & Health, ICT and Education across Europe.

Key stakeholders will also be hosting different activities such as the aforementioned StartupNight Dubai, Dubai roadshow and competition, as well as the Volkswagen Mobility Challenge.

Regular tickets are currently on sale for all interested parties. A full Master Pass - which gives attendees the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the festival - is currently being sold for $349.

However, a Student Master Pass costs $100 and gives youth the chance to attend the event. A promo that's currently running exclusively gives students in tech the chance to benefit from a 50 percent discount. All you need to do is sign up here.

Entry into specific conferences of the festival currently cost $149 per conference while passes for StartupNight range from $10 to $50.

Use this promo code CD-6278 to benefit from a discount and purchase your tickets here.

*Disclaimer: Step Conference is a brand owned by STEP Group, the parent company of StepFeed.