The region’s largest low-cost carrier will support Sheraa’s initiatives through mentorship and funding new businesses that cater to the industry
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Coming on the heels of its successful inaugural accelerator showcase day, Sheraa – a launch pad for aspiring entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates – is making swift progress to expand the portfolio of industries tapped by its growing community of budding entrepreneurs. The latest addition comes in the form of a collaboration with Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC), to launch the ‘Travel and Tourism’ track at Sheraa’s co-working space.
Najla Al-Midfa, General Manager of Sheraa: “We are proud to be associated with Air Arabia and launch the travel and tourism vertical. This presents a tremendous opportunity for new entrepreneurs to learn from an organization that plays a crucial role in the region’s aviation sector, and has been at the forefront of promoting tourism for Sharjah and the UAE at large. Travel and tourism – which encompasses aviation, hospitality and culture – is also integral to the nation’s economic diversification process and presents a wide scope for opportunities for new entrants.”
Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia said: “We are glad to join hands and support Sheraa’s active role in developing and nurturing local talents and innovations. We are very keen to support the local initiatives that bring human value and economic prosperity. We look forward at working closely with Sheraa’s team and provide the support needed in the travel and tourism track”.
Budding entrepreneurs interested in the travel and tourism sector will undertake mentorship sessions at the Sheraa hub where they will address relevant topics and explore new business opportunities. Design thinking workshops will also be organized in the stages leading up to the incubator to understand revenue models within travel and tourism businesses, explore logistical dynamics in aviation, dissect customer demands and learn new industry-relevant skills. Air Arabia will also participate in the seed funding process that is earmarked for successful incubator teams to support their entrepreneurial journey and make their ventures viable.
Ms. Al-Midfa added: “Sheraa provides a vibrant platform where young minds can interact with industry experts and give rise to a new wave of innovative businesses that contribute to the industry’s long-term growth. I am confident that Air Arabia will be equally inspired by the positive and engaging atmosphere, and eagerly play their part in passing on the baton for travel and tourism’s success to the next generation.”
Sheraa’s incubator program launched in March 2017 and the 4-month intensive accelerator begins in September 2017.
Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center):
Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center) was launched in January 2016, under the patronage of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi – Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) – to provide a launch pad for aspiring young entrepreneurs in the UAE. Sheraa’s state-of-the-art co-working facility is housed at the American University of Sharjah, and hosts a thriving community of students and ambitious entrepreneurs.
Sheraa – ‘Sail’ in Arabic – inspires youth to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, and empowers them to navigate through the processes of launching a business, transforming them from job seekers to job creators in the United Arab Emirates and the wider region.
It runs the country’s first university-based ‘accelerator’ program, offering a mentorship-driven, three-month entrepreneurship boot camp to support teams that demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and courage. The hands-on accelerator also provides seed-funding, strategic mentorship by industry professionals and a suite of other competitive benefits.
It successfully unveiled 10 startups through the inaugural flagship accelerator, which is conceived in the center’s expansive co-working space where creativity is fostered in an exuberant environment. Also amongst its initiatives is an ‘academy’ that equips students with 21st century industry skills to bridge the skills gap.