Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: The second edition of Startup Sharjah, a program established by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa),in partnership with the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA), has officially come to a close after four aspiringtech-enabled startup teamsof high school students receivedgrants of 10,000 AED (first place), 5,000 AED (second place), and 2,500 AED (third place tie) respectively.
The program that falls under the Future Change makers initiative, began June 14, 2020, and brought together high school studentsfrom across Sharjah for a two-week intensive bootcamp, where they competed and put forth their ideas, all of whichhad to be based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Twenty shortlisted students were split into startup teams and got the opportunity to pitch their tech-enabled concepts to an online jury of ecosystem leaders.Winners were selected based on an evaluation system designed to include seven main requirements–Idea, Team, Innovativeness, Scalability, Profitability, Impact and Pitching Quality.
Applicants for the second edition of Startup Sharjah were selected from within the Sheraa Online School, a 5-week course designed to mentor students of grades 10 to 12 on building a business.
Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said, “Sheraa remains a firm believer in developing the entrepreneurial mindset from an early age and showcasing the power of entrepreneurship to generate positive change. Tying the Future Changemakers initiative to the UN Sustainable Development Goals served to further cement this connection between entrepreneurship and impact. We are incredibly proud of the innovative ideas the students have developed in such a short amount of time— these changemakers are proving that you are never too young to make a difference in the world. We look forward to seeing them continue to fulfill their immense potential, and to offer our support to any talented young founder looking to take the next step on their startup journey.”
Congratulating winners of Startup Sharjah program that was launched by Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), Her Excellency Dr.Muhadditha Al Hashimi, Chairperson of SPEA, stressed the importance of developing students’ creative potential by providing a nurturing environment that fosters youth skills and promotes a culture of creativity and innovation, which are considered as the building blocks of nations’ growth and progress.
“As part of our goals and strategies at SPEA, we are keen on launching dynamic partnerships with various organizations that foster students’ skills and talents by organising creative initiatives and functions, similar to this event, to help generate a competitive environment that shapes and enhances youth potential so they could assume their roles in the nation’s progress.” added Al Hashimi.
She pointed out that the Authority aims for translating the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who believes in the importance of investing in the human capital and enhancing students’ talents and promoting its growth by offering all the support needed in an increasingly innovation-driven world.
Her Excellency said that the partnership with Sheraa comes as a translation of His Highness’s directives, by making available a conducive and supportive environment that responds to rapidly changing world.
Adapted into an online format in order to uphold health and safety regulations, the competition consisted of weekly workshops and one-on-one mentorship sessions covering topics such as market validation, prototyping and financials. The students were connected to 20 seasoned founders from the Sheraa Alumni community, over a period of two weeks, whohelpedguide their venture creation process.
In the finale of the second edition of Startup Sharjah, the four winning teamshad the following projects:
First Place: Al Furat
Al-Furat is a device that assists in re-using unused water from taps with the help of LiDAR sensors that create a 3D virtual image of the path taken by the water once it leaves the tap. If the sensor determines that water was wasted, it would be transferred to a clean channel that transports it to an Al Furat chlorination facility, where it is treated and then sent to people who do not have access to clean water.
Second Place: Fen Virtual Art Platform
Fen Virtual Art Platform is an application that brings together artists looking to sell their art pieces. Fen supports the UNSDGs by feeding one child for every piece sold.
Third Place Tie: The Ozonator
The Ozonator is a device that iscompletely powered by solar panels and can be used to kill bacteria, viruses and protozoan. It will be used to turn contaminated river water into drinkable water giving residents a clean steady source.
Third Place Tie: Life On Land
A concept that uses solar panels to produce clean water from atmosphere humidity.
Each winning team will be supported and encouraged by the concerned team at Sheraa to achieve certain milestones in the areas of Market Research and Idea Validation (Customer Interviews). This is to ensure that their concept materializes into an actual business model, and as a result, is launched as a startup.Additionally, all winners of the grant will be required to create an overall business plan and attendmandatory allocated office hours.