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Thu 11 Mar 2010 07:43 AM

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Trio win prize for best UAE student entrepreneurs

Dubai Women's College students chosen for D-Kit which tackles rise in diabetes.

Three Emirati undergraduates from Dubai Women’s College have won first prize and $25,000 in a nationwide hunt for the best student entrepreneurs.

The trio, Salima Al Harbee, Dalal Al Dhabyani and Khawla Al Hanini, beat seven other regional finalists to scoop the top spot for their ‘D-Kit’, a monitoring device aimed at tackling the rise of diabetes and high blood pressure.

In addition to the $20,000 grand prize from the inaugural CERT-Wharton Entrepreneurial Planning & Innovation Competition (EPIC), the team, called Miracle Makers, also scooped $5,000 for Best Undergraduate Business Plan.

The competition’s prizes were presented by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, at a ceremony at Dubai Men’s College. The eight finalists, which included a plan for a women’s-only coffee chain, an organic food store and a wedding planning service, received a total of $50,000 in cash prizes.

Speaking on the sidelines of the award ceremony, the girls said they would pursue investment opportunities after their graduation this summer, to bring D-Kit to market.

“We definitely want to pursue this – there is a huge market for the product. Now we’re looking for investment,” said 20-year-old Al Dhabyani.

D-Kit is a phone-sized portable device that monitors for the onset of diabetes and hypertension, by checking blood sugar and blood pressure levels. The kit comes complete with software and a guidebook, available in Arabic and English, to help flag early warning signs of the diseases. The device is likely to retail for around AED500, said Al Dhabyani, and the team hopes to sell more than 38,000 of the D-Kits within three years.

The Gulf has one of the highest rates of diabetes worldwide. According to World Health Organisation data, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait are second, third, fourth and fifth respectively on the list of the countries with the highest incidence of type two diabetes.

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