UAE’s first Khalifa Fund “Technopreneur” Competition by ADU and Khalifa Fund for Technology and Entrepreneurship

WAM ABU DHABI, 24th December, 2013 (WAM) — As the U.A.E. continues its diversification from an oil and gas-based economy to a more knowledge-based economy, Abu Dhabi University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, ADU Enterprise, has entered a synergy with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development to launch the nation’s first Khalifa Fund for Technopreneur Projects Competition. The goal of the competition is to integrate technology into entrepreneurship, so that “technopreneurs” can learn how to transform a technical idea into the final prototype ready for the market.

Entries to the competition from interested entrepreneurs will be accepted until 26th February 2014. Shortlisted candidates will attend valuable workshops on how to accelerate the process between the technical idea and a market-ready product.

The three most exceptional candidates will be selected as winners to receive seed funding from Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development if they meet the Fund’s condition, as well as valuable one-to-one mentoring in business and technical expertise from one of the region’s leading centres of entrepreneurial excellence, ADU Enterprise.

The Centre will also provide the winners with access to the University’s resources, advanced infrastructure, in-depth technical support, highly experienced faculty and extensive networking opportunities to perfect their skills.

Detailing the rationale behind the competition, Abu Dhabi University’s Chancellor, Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, said, “One of the U.A.E.’s greatest assets along with oil and gas is the intellectual wealth of the nation’s people.

“Unfortunately, many aspiring entrepreneurs are discouraged by the misconception that starting a technology-based business is too costly and is only for giant corporates. However, through this competition, we’re hoping to prove that intellectual wealth is the gateway to financial wealth, and not the other way round.

“Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development is the ideal partner in our joint venture, as their remarkable track in shaping the SME landscape and supporting young entrepreneurs mirrors our own impressive track record on the innovation frontier, which was reflected by ADU’s most recent achievement in winning the title of “Best Supporting University for Entrepreneurship” in the U.A.E. and the Arab World during the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders in its 8th cycle. The award is a testament to the University’s leadership stature in supporting the advancement of entrepreneurship in the U.A.E., and coincided with the University’s 10th anniversary celebrations.” Ibrahim Ahmed Al Mansoori, the Chief Operation Officer of Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, said, “The Khalifa Fund is very keen to support and encourage Emiratis to come up with creative ideas in the technology sector.

“The Fund gives special interest to valuable projects which help in conveying the technology to the local market. We are aiming to enable Emirati entrepreneurs to participate in supporting the local economy and to empower the knowledge economy.

“Launching the Khalifa Fund for Technopreneur Projects Competition will contribute in encouraging the entrepreneurs to innovate and being creative in the modern technology sector. We hope the winning, success and benefit for all participants.” Echoing those sentiments, Rima Shaban, Manager of ADU’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre added, “The missing support in entrepreneurial programmes in the U.A.E. and the Arab world lies in the prototype development phase, very few programmes offer support during this early stage of enterprise creation.

“Through this competition, ADU with the support of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, aims to support entrepreneurs with technology and knowledge based ideas to develop their prototype and the business model, and to funnel them for further support from the Khalifa Fund. ADU Enterprise offers support for all entrepreneurs in the U.A.E. community through training courses and many other entrepreneurial activities organised by the Centre on a regular basis.” To be eligible to enter the competition, individuals or groups applying must have a technology-based idea that they wish to convert into a feasible business. 50% of any group should be Emirati, and candidates must be based in Abu Dhabi or surrounding areas.

WAM/MZ/CM

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