Program aims to inculcate an entrepreneurial mindset and develop their confidence
Sharjah, UAE: Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center) – a launch pad for aspiring young entrepreneurs in the UAE – has launched a Ramadan Giving Program where the Sheraa team and other participants introduced orphans supported by the Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation to the world of entrepreneurship. The initiative is the result of a collaboration with ‘The Mawada Project’, an organization aimed at creating opportunities for the UAE’s youth to volunteer for social projects and inculcate important skills and compassion. The Mawada Project was also one of the ten startups that emerged from Sheraa’s inaugural accelerator.
The three-week program involved personalized workshops for the attendees to help them develop an entrepreneurial mindset, boost their confidence and enhance their critical and creative thinking skills.
In the first week, the mentors went through a training and empathy-building workshop, designed to prepare them for their role as mentors with the young learners, going through cultural, emotional and psychological aspects, as well as the content and skills that had been covered. During the following two weeks, the mentors were joined by the young learners and were paired with them in groups to work closely with them and help them develop new skills related to entrepreneurship and innovation, which are core to Sheraa’s mission.
“Through this program, we want to make a positive impact this Ramadan while reinforcing the value and importance of social responsibility to our community of young entrepreneurs,” said Najla Al-Midfa, General Manager of Sheraa. “Young people from every walk of life need to have the opportunities to succeed, dream big and create ventures of their own. This program aims to stoke that inherent entrepreneurial zeal and encourage these young learners.”
As part of the workshops for young learners, the Sheraa team helped them to understand the concept of entrepreneurship and shared examples of startups and the stories of how they started. They also took them through the different entrepreneurial values, skills and processes – such as ideation and prototyping – and shared examples of what these would look like in real life.
Each group then collectively picked a problem that they would like to solve based on the United Nation’s Social Development Goals. After identifying the problem, they discussed the different issues currently being faced, what solutions were already available and what new solutions could be created to help improve the situation. The solutions were developed within the framework of a viable business model to ensure that owners of the unique idea can implement them independently, and later pitch the solution to like-minded peers to gain feedback.
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 showcase day, which is conceived in the center’s expansive co-working space where creativity is fostered in an exuberant environment.