By Tamara Pupic
UAE’s first university-based accelerator programme – Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa) – sets a major milestone to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs
His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Wednesday attended the graduation ceremony of the first batch of entrepreneurs from the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa).
Currently, Sheraa is the only university-based business accelerator programme in the UAE.
Having passed through rigorous screening for innovativeness, commercial viability and potential impact by the Sheraa team, the ten shortlisted teams underwent an intensive four-month training and mentorship programme. They were supported with seed funding, trade license, office-space and access to customers, amongst other benefits.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, HE Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said: “While Sharjah is celebrated for its rich history, arts and architecture, platforms like Sheraa shine a light on the emirate as a hub of young entrepreneurial talent.
“We are proud of the teams who entered the accelerator as students but are now graduating as confident entrepreneurs. We look forward to their innovative ideas taking shape and form and positively impacting our lives.”
The 10 teams represent a diverse mix of industries, tapping into ‘sharing economy’, video gaming, Arabic content, handicraft, food and beverage (F&B), energy and skill development.
Najla Al-Midfa, general manager of Sheraa, said: “It is a great honour to have His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah in our midst today to grace this occasion. His unstinting support along with the commitment and encouragement of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, who is our chairperson, has been instrumental in creating Sheraa in order to fulfill the aspirations of our youth in their entrepreneurial journey.”
Also present at the event were Sheraa’s strategic partners who have pledged their support for its growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs – His Excellency Khalid al Huraimel, CEO of BEE’AH; Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises; Adel Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia; His Excellency Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Asset Management and His Excellency Sheikh Khaled bin Abdulla bin Sultan al Qasimi, Chairman of SAIF Zone.
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