Dubai stu­dents take on busi­ness

School teams in start-up show­down

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

S ome of the UAE’s bright­est young things moved a step closer to launch­ing their own start-ups at a spe­cial Demo Day in Dubai yes­ter­day. From a smart shoe for the vis­ually im­paired, through to a smart, eco-friendly ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem, a drone pro­grammed to ease traf­fic con­ges­tion and many more, the ideas on show were all pro­gres­sive and in­no­va­tive.

Though markedly dif­fer­ent from each other, all had one thing in com­mon. For­get busi­ness de­grees, MBAs or even work ex­pe­ri­ence - the en­trepreneurs be­hind th­ese in­no­va­tive pro­pos­als are all still at school.

The teams from dif­fer­ent schools across the UAE were tak­ing part in a Demo Day as part of the Arab In­no­va­tion Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion (AICE) Ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gramme, which helps stu­dents in the UAE to cre­ate their own start-ups. Just 10 teams are left from more than 700 sub­mis­sions, and yes­ter­day they were given 10 min­utes each to pitch their plans to busi­ness lead­ers, ven­ture cap­i­tal firms and even the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice at GEMS Welling­ton Academy in Sil­i­con Oasis.

Karan Deep, in­no­va­tion de­vel­op­ment man­ager at GEMS ex­plained: “In line with the UAE vi­sion 2021 and UAE lead­er­ship am­bi­tion to make the UAE and re­gion the most in­no­va­tive in world, GEMS Ed­u­ca­tion con­ceived AICE, a cen­tre set up to fos­ter a cul­ture of cre­ative en­trepreneur­ship.

“The ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gramme is the first of its kind in the re­gion and it aims to help stu­dents evolve school projects, ideas and in­no­va­tions and make them into a busi­ness re­al­ity.”

The teams bat­tling it out for the big prize on May 3 have made it this far thanks to the com­mer­cial fea­si­bil­ity, in­no­va­tion and so­cial im­pact of their projects.

For ex­am­ple, Vish­weswar Eswaran, aged 13, has cre­ated ODI, an app and de­vice fit­ted in the shoe to help the vis­ually im­paired de­tect ob­sta­cles in their path.

Al­tair, by tech head Ar­jun Bharkar and busi­ness brain Sara An­sari, both 14, is a metic­u­lously de­signed car­bon fi­bre drone which can gather and an­a­lyse data. Grēner

Ir­ri­ga­tion, by Elie Dib, Mostafa Kamel and Is­abella Mal­ixi, all 16, is a plug and play ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem, ac­ti­vated by mois­ture and nu­tri­ent sen­sors.

Each team im­pressed in terms of pre­sen­ta­tion and busi­ness sense. Karan ex­plains: “Over the last two months we have been work­ing with them to help build the prod­uct from the busi­ness as­pect as well as the tech­ni­cal side. Each team has been paired up with a men­tor to learn ‘21st cen­tury skills’, pitch­ing and pre­sen­ta­tions and busi­ness mod­els, through train­ing and work­shops.”

PITCH PER­FECT: Stu­dents from a num­ber of UAE schools show­cased their bright ideas at an AICE Demo Day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.