Eti­had Group tar­gets UAE in­no­va­tors, en­trepreneurs with ‘Fikra’ project

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

As part of the UAE’s In­no­va­tion Week, Eti­had Avi­a­tion Group (EAG) has launched Fikra, a UAE-based com­pe­ti­tion aimed at fos­ter­ing en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion across the coun­try. Fikra means ‘idea’ in Ara­bic and the com­pe­ti­tion aims to en­cour­age stu­dents to de­liver so­lu­tions to some of the ma­jor chal­lenges fac­ing the avi­a­tion in­dus­try in to­day’s ever-com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

The chal­lenges of the com­pe­ti­tion are fo­cused on ten ar­eas where the travel group is look­ing for spe­cific ideas. They are fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing ideas around dig­i­tal evo­lu­tion, stopover vis­its, an­cil­lary sales op­por­tu­ni­ties, im­prov­ing loy­alty schemes, spe­cial­ist cargo, so­cial me­dia, youth en­gage­ment, air­port ex­pe­ri­ence and the en­vi­ron­ment. In ad­di­tion there is a spe­cial cat­e­gory called ‘Out of the Box’ that al­lows the next gen­er­a­tion to pitch game chang­ing ideas, in line with some of the con­cepts that the air­line has al­ready launched such as The Res­i­dence.

Fa­tima Al-Je­fri, Di­rec­tor at the De­part­ment of Science, Tech­nol­ogy and Re­search in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, said: “The Min­istry be­lieves that ed­u­ca­tion and re­search are im­por­tant ways to ac­quire, de­velop and learn knowl­edge so we strongly sup­port Eti­had Air­ways in their Fikra ini­tia­tive, as it will en­gage the stu­dents in in­no­va­tion and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. The project will in­vest in our youth and help them to pave the way for­ward to a sus­tain­able and pros­per­ous fu­ture.”

Ray Gam­mell, Chief Peo­ple and Per­for­mance Of­fi­cer for EAG, said: “In­no­va­tion is key to how we do busi­ness and how we will con­tinue to grow as a travel group. We’ve reached the size we are to­day by in­no­vat­ing quickly and sup­port­ing an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit through­out our busi­ness units. That com­mit­ment doesn’t stop, the new Fikra project gives us an op­por­tu­nity to hear from the coun­try’s next gen­er­a­tion and we hope it will de­liver ideas that can push us to the next level of our de­vel­op­ment.”

The first phase of the com­pe­ti­tion will see all sub­mis­sions eval­u­ated, ap­praised and scored on their mer­its. The 20 high­est scor­ing par­tic­i­pants will move for­ward to the next phase of the com­pe­ti­tion. In the sec­ond stage, the top two ideas in each chal­lenge will get the op­por­tu­nity to work closely with and be men­tored by a sub­ject mat­ter ex­pert from EAG. The 20 suc­cess­ful par­tic­i­pants will work to de­velop their ideas into achiev­able busi­ness plans un­der the guid­ance of the travel group’s man­age­ment. Those par­tic­i­pants will also be given the op­por­tu­nity to present their busi­ness plans to the se­nior man­age­ment of EAG who will choose the top ten win­ning ideas.

The winners will get the op­por­tu­nity to take up a coveted in­tern­ship with one of the EAG busi­nesses to help con­vert their idea into re­al­ity or al­ter­na­tively can choose an in­tern­ship with some of EAG’s key strate­gic part­ners in­clud­ing BT, Cog­nizant, SAP, TATA Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices, IBM, Sabre, Stelia Aero­space, Zo­diac Aero­space, CAE Inc, B/E Aero­space Inc, Re­caro Air­craft Seat­ing and Thales Avion­ics Inc. These in­tern­ships will give the stu­dents a chance to take their ideas even fur­ther in a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment and to ex­pe­ri­ence first-hand how ma­jor multi­na­tional busi­nesses use and ben­e­fit from in­no­va­tion on a day to day ba­sis.

Hareb Al-Muhairy, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent for Cor­po­rate and In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs at EAG, said: “The com­pe­ti­tion will pro­vide another op­por­tu­nity for the youth of the UAE to tell us about their ideas so we can con­tinue to build both the best air­line but also one fit for the chal­lenges of the fu­ture. In­no­va­tion is es­sen­tial to the de­vel­op­ment of our air­line and we’re ex­cited about the ideas we’re go­ing to see and the pos­si­bil­i­ties ahead.” EAG is now invit­ing stu­dents from univer­si­ties across the UAE to par­tic­i­pate in the com­pe­ti­tion. All stu­dents from univer­si­ties in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Shar­jah, Aj­man, Ras Al Khema, Um Qui­wan and Fu­jairah may ap­ply. It is open to all UAE uni­ver­sity stu­dents re­gard­less of age, gen­der, eth­nic­ity, topic or year of study. All stu­dents who regis­ter will be en­tered into a free raf­fle with some fan­tas­tic travel, sport­ing and cul­tural prizes on of­fer.

UAE In­no­va­tion Week is tak­ing place be­tween Sun­day Novem­ber 20 and Satur­day Novem­ber 26 dur­ing 2016. The week is a na­tion­wide cel­e­bra­tion of in­no­va­tion in line with the di­rec­tive of His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, the UAE Vice Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter and Ruler of Dubai. It is one of the largest in­no­va­tion ini­tia­tives in the world and com­bines a con­sol­i­dated ef­fort by the govern­ment, the pri­vate sec­tor and in­di­vid­u­als to help cre­ate a wide­spread cul­ture in the UAE, to strengthen its po­si­tion as a global hub for in­no­va­tion.

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