By Tamara Pupic
Dubai Chamber’s Tejar Dubai has become Youth Business International’s fourth regional member and hosted the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 for the first time in the Middle East
A Hong Kong-based entrepreneur has won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 award at a special award ceremony organised for the first time in the Middle East on Tuesday evening.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Youth Business International (YBI) presented the award to Viola Lam, an entrepreneur from Hong Kong who founded a unique maths teaching centre, at an event held at the Park Hyatt hotel in Dubai.
Founded in 2000 by Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, the YBI initiative also honoured Li Feng of China as the Mentor of the Year, Arun Awatade as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year, and Susan Ogwengo as the Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year.
The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award was given to Sonal Patil, the founder of Shree Group, who restarted her garment manufacturing factory devastated by a fire.
In the male-oriented world of Indian garment manufacturing, Sonal has achieved a turnover of US$350,000, given direct employment to 120 people (80 women) and indirect employment to 480 people in just four years.
The awards were presented by HE Hisham Al Shirawi, the second vice-chairman of the Dubai Chamber, and head of Tejar Dubai Selection Committee Panel, and Sir Malcolm Williamson, Chairman, Youth Business International and chair of the judging panel.
Following the award ceremony, held in partnership with Barclays, Sir Williamson, said: “The judges were impressed by the achievements and potential of all four finalists.
“But the judges selected Viola Lam because of her vision, clear business model and her ambitious plans for growth. We look forward to seeing her business grow.”
HE Al Shirawi informed that the Dubai Chamber initiative of Tejar Dubai has launched six commercial projects so far out of the 21 projects approved by the judging panel, while the programme organised more than 25 training workshops and held 170 business networking meetings for the participants.
YBI helps young people aged 18-35 to start and grow their own business, and it has already supported over 100,000 young people to create their own business and generate employment.
The recent signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Tejar Dubai and YBI will provide young UAE entrepreneurs with mentoring support in starting their own business and encourage their participation in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award organised by YBI.
In this manner, Tejar Dubai has become the fourth Middle Eastern member of YBI’s network, joining The Centennial Fund in Saudi Arabia, Enda Inter-Arabe in Tunisia and Tamweelcom in Jordan.