In line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into smart city, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Smart Dubai Office launched the second edition of the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition at the Chamber’s premises on Monday.
The launch ceremony was attended by H.E. Hisham Al Shirawi, 2nd Vice-Chairman, Dubai Chamber; Essa Al Zaabi, Senior Vice-President, Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber, and General Coordinator of Tejar Dubai; aspiring entrepreneurs, and representatives from the UAE’s business community.
The competition gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to become part of Dubai’s transformation into a global benchmark smart city, supporting the vision of Smart Dubai to make Dubai the happiest city on earth through technology innovation. It is open to all entrepreneurs based in the UAE whose entries will be critiqued by a high-level judging panel. Participants are required to submit their business ideas in line with the Smart Dubai dimensions that include smart economy, smart living, smart mobility, smart governance, smart environment, and smart people. Participants who qualify will attend two full-day workshops on sector-specific training, mentorship, building relationships, and developing a full business plan.
The first three winners will get a cash prize and the opportunity to join Tejar Dubai entrepreneurship development programme for a year which will help them turn their business ideas into reality.
In his welcome address, H.E. Hisham Al Shirawi highlighted the importance of the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition, which has become a key platform for recognising and developing innovative ideas that have the potential to improve the local business environment and the wider society.
H.E. Al Shirawi said: “The benefits of this competition go far beyond financial rewards. Participants also get a unique chance to network with industry influencers, interact with mentors, and gain valuable feedback needed to improve and grow their businesses.”
H.E. Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said: “The Smartpreneur Competition is an important annual event that demonstrates the positive impact we can have when we work together. I applaud Dubai Chamber for leading this impressive event”.
“These bright young entrepreneurs are essential to the success of our smart city ambitions. The second cycle of Smartpreneur competition will not only be an opportunity to discover the best products and services improving city experiences. It will be an engagement platform to support local entrepreneurs to actively contribute to and lead our citywide transformation.” Her Excellency also said.
A panel discussion was held during the event, focusing on the progress achieved by the UAE government on smart city and innovation-focused initiatives, as well as the initiatives and engines are expected to drive sustainable growth in the future.
Joining the panel discussion were Essa Al Zaabi, Senior Vice-President, Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber, and General Coordinator of Tejar Dubai; Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director, Smart Dubai Office and CEO of Dubai Data; Kushal Shah, Partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Founder of Dubai Angel Investors; and Raed Hafez, Chairman, ElGrocer.
During the panel session, Al Zaabi lauded the commitment of Dubai Chamber’s Tejar Dubai entrepreneurship development programme in harnessing the potential of young Emirati entrepreneurs. The programme is designed to support nascent entrepreneurs by providing them with training, mentorship and access to new opportunities, helping them to take their first steps into the business world.
Also winners of the first edition of the competition which included Sebastian Stephen, CEO of LoadMe.ae, and Murshed Mohammad, Co-Founder of “I Want” shared their experience with the competition at the event. They talked about how it helped them turn their business ideas into reality, in addition to providing them with training and guidance from many experts who helped them reach their goals.
Last year, Dubai Chamber received 350 innovative ideas during the first cycle of the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition. The competition calls for smart business ideas to support any one of the following dimensions: smart economy, smart living, smart mobility, smart governance, smart environment, and smart people.
The competition this year will take place under the umbrella of Dubai Start Up Hub, the official online hub of the Dubai startup and technology ecosystem, managed by the Dubai Chamber in collaboration with IBM.