EAIA Supports HCT’s Inaugural InnCuVation Forum 2021
Abu Dhabi: The critical role of early-stage investor support in the startup ecosystem was highlighted during a 10-team Startup Pitch Competition, hosted on the final day of the HCT InnCuVation Forum 2021, held during UAE Innovates 2021.
Ten student-run entrepreneurial ventures were showcased in the fast-paced competition to a panel of judges, composed of the members of the Emirates Angel Investors Association, and a large online audience of students, faculty and keen entrepreneurs. The distinguished judging panel was comprised of Ms. Maha Al Fahim, the Founder of Highwater Venture Partners; Mr. Mana Al Suwaidi, the Executive Chairman of STRATEGI Advisors; and Mr. Tom Rebollini, CFO of the Emirates Consortium LLC.
Mr. Masaood Al Masaood, Chairman of the Emirates Angel Investors Association, gave an inspiring keynote address to set the scene for the interactive presentations. An HCT graduate, Mr. Al Masaood shared his insights into the emerging angel investing and the Association he founded in 2020.
“The Association brings like-minded people who are interested in the field of angel investing under one umbrella. Angel Investing is relatively new to the region and the idea is like ‘birds of a feather flock together’, the more like-minded people you have on your team, the more you are likely to succeed. Just like a startup; it’s all about the team dynamics and in our case the interaction within the Association.” he said.
“Angel investors are very important to startups. They are experienced people who work in different industries and can add a lot of value to start-ups, which have the idea, the passion and energy but they might need guidance, seed funding and other form of strategic and operational support. Connecting to an angels’ network is very important to startups,” he added.
He affirmed that all 10 of Startup Pitch Day competitors deserved continued support in their ventures. “The Association’s slogan is ‘Investing in the Future’. It’s a dream we seek with you. The entrepreneurs for the competition are the future. You are the champions,” Mr. Masaood said.
“Failure for us should not be a taboo. If you stumble once you stand and continue you path. I invite my colleagues of the Association to support the startups here and the amazing entrepreneurs who are leading them” he added.
Mr. Nicola Bettio, HCT Executive Director of Applied Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, applauded the work of the Emirates Angel Investors Association’s in the UAE entrepreneurial ecosystem. “This joint initiative with the Association is one of many to come. Mr. Masaood and the members of the EAIA have a genuine passion for startups, and we are proud to cooperate to strengthen Emirati entrepreneurship among the young generations. Angel investors are a key component of any mature and well-working startup ecosystem,” he said.
“E-Fate”, a student-operated company, promoting sustainability and energy efficiency through the collection of electronic waste was named the winner of the Startup Pitch Day competition. The other top winners were “3D Design & Printing” (3DCP) in 2nd place and “Match My Skin” in 3rd place.
E-Fate, launched in 2019, is specialized in managing and collecting electronic waste from urban communities and large and medium sized companies. Company spokesman, Mohamed Al Hammadi, explained that the company is targeting to collect more than 100 tons of e-waste in 2021. The aim of E-Fate is to play a substantial role in positioning the UAE as a leader in the field of recycling.
The startup 3DCP provides technology solutions for the design of 3D printed buildings (in particular thermal insulation). Company representative Abdulla Al Suwaidi said the concept utilizes unique patterns and designs to minimize the materials being used in construction projects, ensuring low thermal conductivity of walls while preserving their structural integrity.
Match my Skin offers health and wellness services, particularly cosmetics and skin care, via an AI and AR mobile App. Customers will be able to find the most suitable foundation and skin care products based on their skin type.
Mr. Bettio said the unbridled success of HCT’s inaugural InnCuVation Forum 2021, not only highlighted the innovation culture within the institution but enhanced its commitment to embedding an entrepreneurial mindset within its student body. “This will be achieved by ensuring HCT continues to incubate and launching startups and generate innovation, with economic impact, in the coming years,” he said.
Founded in 1988, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) is the UAE’s largest applied higher educational institution, gaining a well-respected reputation for innovative education practices and job-focused experiential learning.
Over 20,000 students attend 16 modern, technology-oriented men’s and women’s campuses throughout the UAE. HCT offers over 70 academic programs in Applied Media, Business, Computer Information Science, Education, Engineering Technology & Science and Health Sciences.
These programs are all designed in consultation with business and industry leaders, and incorporate principles of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to ensure HCT students’ skills are up-to-date and to the highest standards. The HCT courses are a hybrid blend of innovative, technology-driven academic studies and work-relevant programs, ensuring that HCT graduates have the necessary 21st century skills to make positive and lasting contributions to society in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The HCT 4.0 strategic plan, which is strongly aligned to the goals of the National Employment Strategy 2031, was launched in March 2019 with the theme of Employability and Beyond, and consists of three pillars – “Technical Leaders”, “No Emirati Left Behind” and “Graduate Companies”. HCT 4.0 will equip UAE’s National workforce with future skills required in the labor market, so as to meet national goals. It will also empower graduates and employees to be familiar with technological updates and enhance their skills, so as to keep pace with accelerating job changes dictated by the 4th Industrial Revolution and the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence skills.
HCT is a vital contributor to the national agendas, including providing education opportunities to every male and female Emirati and also being announced as a free zone, under the UAE’s Fifty Year Charter”, which stipulates that UAE public and private universities will be announced as free zones that allow students to carry out business and creative activities. In addition, the HCT is prominent in its role as a federal institution by promoting applied research opportunities to faculty and students.
The HCT has also embraced a global perspective on applied education by establishing the Global Applied Education Network (GAEN), which sees it partner with global educational institutions.