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Wed 18 Mar 2020 09:12 AM

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Meet the teenagers working to bring entrepreneurship to local schools

The grand finale of the global entrepreneurship challenge is scheduled for April 18

Meet the teenagers working to bring entrepreneurship to local schools

Rayan Malik and Yousuf Zia started the competition, in part, because of a lack of options for young entrepreneurs to showcase their talent in the UAE and across the wider region.

The young Dubai-based founders of an ongoing ‘global entrepreneurship challenge’ hope it will create a generation of savvy business gurus and encourage schools to begin teaching entrepreneurship at a young age.

Established last year by Rayan Malik, 16 and Yousuf Zia, 17, the competiton is aimed at giving young aspiring entrepreneurs – ranging in ages from 11 to 18 – a platform to showcase their idea.

Over AED100,000 in prizes will be made available following the event’s grand finale on April 18, including AED12,500 in direct cash, a free trade license worth AED25,000 and access to seed funding worth AED50,000.

It is open to young people with potential ideas in the education, technology, health and sports and environmental sectors.

In an interview with Arabian Business, the competition’s two founders said that they started the competition, in part, because of a lack of options for young entrepreneurs to showcase their talent in the UAE and across the wider region.

“One of the main reasons is that it’s such a new region. Dubai is only some 40 years old, so they haven’t really had time to do that,” Zia said. “A lot of the focus was on people moving to the west. But, now we need to create that culture.”

To accomplish that goal, the challenge has conducted a number of expert-led workshops, such as an introduction to financial planning and mock presentation workshops.

“That’s core to our competition,” Malik said. “We don’t want students to just come and go between the rounds. We want them to develop their idea throughout the competition.”

“By developing this competition, we learned so many things that don’t get taught in a classroom, such as how to market, design software, reach out to partners, events logistics,” he added. “That’s what we want for the competitors also. That’s the central reason we created this.”

Already, the two young men have partnered with PwC and Careem to launch the challenge in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan next year, as well as develop an entrepreneurship curriculum that will be launched in 30 UAE schools next year.

The grand finale of the challenge is scheduled to be held on April 18, barring any unforeseen circumstances related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

More information on the event can be found here.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online