Sheraa team wins top spot in hackathon for Fintech innovation


Tenth-grade student amongst the participants sponsored by Sheraa to compete at GlassQube Startup Weekend FinTech Hackathon Abu Dhabi

Sahim Team

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Committed towards identifying young talent and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs, Sheraa sponsored ten students to participate at the GlassQube Startup Weekend FinTech Hackathon in Abu Dhabi held recently.  As part of the global movement coordinated by TechStars and supported by ‘Google for Entrepreneurs’, this year’s GlassQube Startup Weekend competition gathered developers, designers and ideators in the UAE and challenged them to build a functional minimum viable product within 54 hours for a chance to win cash prizes and other non-cash prizes valued at over AED 500,000.

While Sheraa was represented by its community members based at the dedicated co-working hub in American University of Sharjah (AUS), two additional students were also supported for the hackathon, including one of the youngest participants, Wasi Ur Rehman – a tenth-grade student of Al Zuhour Private School, Sharjah.

Sheraa’s ‘Sahim’ team demonstrated grit and creativity at the weekend-long event and emerged with a first-place finish in the competition. The seven-member team impressed the judges with real-world solutions to developing sophisticated Sharia-compliant trading instruments that contribute to a robust, technology-led financial landscape.

The winning team will enjoy a host of privileges and opportunities to strengthen their start-up idea, such as: $5,000 in cash prize; $1,000 to launch an online crowd-funding campaign; access to GlassQube Coworking’s 2017 Incubator Program; 12 hours of free legal advice; a free website domain and mentoring for a range of functions such as business development, marketing and web designing.

Ms. Najla Al-Midfa, General Manager of Sheraa, said: “Supporting young talent in the region and channeling their creative spirit towards entrepreneurship is at the core of our efforts. The Hackathon was a grueling competition that tested the participants’ knowledge, innovative thought and mental endurance. We believe that if the youth are surrounded with a strong support ecosystem, their age is not a barrier to pursue excellence, and this is what we endeavored to do by sponsoring students as young as sixteen and the results speak for themselves. We want to play our part in helping the next generation of entrepreneurs focus on the task at hand and not be daunted by challenges.”

Sana Rahim, Lead Organizer and Branding and Marketing Consultant, Startup Weekend Abu Dhabi said: “Sheraa belongs to a new breed of incubators that gives everyone an equal chance regardless of their age. The will to be an entrepreneur emanates from passion, and passion is ageless. They help startups take that plunge with undivided guidance and support.”

Sheraa is dedicated to providing the youth of the United Arab Emirates and the region with the relevant platforms to explore this passion, and launch their journeys towards developing impactful businesses. Through the many sponsorship drives and collaboration, it is shaping the youth to become productive and inspirational individuals for a better future.

Sahim Team Members: Hashim Al Zaabi, Vinay Naresh, Abdullah AlhajKhalil, Mohamed Rashid, Saif Ur Rehman, Wasi Ur Rehman, Odya Daher

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 and strategic mentorship by industry professionals, and a suite of other competitive benefits.

Also amongst its initiatives is an ‘academy’ that equips students with 21st century industry skills to bridge the skills gap. Sheraa’s first accelerator cycle is currently underway with 10 teams working from the centre’s expansive co-working space where creativity is fostered in an exuberant environment.