Registrations opens for season three of The Big Start Student Entrepreneur Competition

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Al Tamimi Investments opens up competition to postgraduate students for the first time

Registrations are now open for the third season of The Big Start student entrepreneur competition. The annual competition, run by Al Tamimi Investments (ATI), gives UAE-based university students a chance to become the CEO of their own business and win full funding and operational support for their idea. For the first time, the competition will be expanded beyond undergraduate students to include submissions from final year postgraduate students that are under 30 years of age.

Eligible students with a great idea for a UAE-based business are encouraged to submit their application online at www.thebigstart.ae. Registrations will remain open until 8 January, 2012 after which ATI will select up to 25 student entries to progress to the second round of the competition where students will be mentored to develop their business ideas into business plans through a series of workshops and one-on-one sessions.

“We’ve decided to extend The Big Start this season to include postgraduate students, in part, to satisfy demand for participation among this group, but also to elevate the competitiveness between students. Our group workshop approach means students learn as much from our mentoring as they do from each other. Introducing a more senior student body into the competition stands to enhance the overall learning experience and quality of the final business proposals,” said Rachael Wunsch, General Manager, ATI.
The Big Start was launched in 2009 and forms the core CSR activity for ATI. Focused on fostering the next generation of entrepreneurial talent in the UAE, the competition is the only one of its kind in the country to actively guide, mentor and facilitate the development of each entrant’s business plan, and to financially support the winner’s idea to make it a reality.

The three-stage competition begins with the evaluation by ATI of the initial submissions received. In January 2012 the most promising students will progress to the next stage of the competition where they will attend a series of business plan workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions to learn how to transform their concepts into feasible business propositions.

The best and most feasible business plans will be selected by ATI to proceed to the final round of judging in June 2012 where students will present their ideas to a panel of business analysts. The student with the most viable and investable concept has the chance to become CEO of their business after they graduate and receive full funding and operational support from ATI.

According to the winners of seasons one and two, The Big Start offers an unrivalled learning experience with the added bonus of a truly life-changing prize.

Winner of this year’s competition, Stefanie Ost, for her professional modeling school and agency SO Famous said: “I still can’t quite believe that I am about to launch my business concept and I am so grateful to Al Tamimi Investments for influencing my life so profoundly. Even had I not won, the knowledge I gained from the process would have ensured I pursued this same career path.”

The Big Start’s inaugural winner Yahya Stapic, who recently opened his fashion incubator concept store United Designers (www.uniteddesigners.ae) in Mirdiff City Centre added: “You have got absolutely nothing to lose by participating in The Big Start, and quite possibly, everything to gain. If you have ambition and conviction in your business idea, then go for it. The team at Al Tamimi Investments can help you to refine your idea to make it practical and achievable.”

Final year postgraduate and undergraduate students from any UAE university, aged 30 years or younger, qualify to participate in The Big Start Season 3. All academic disciplines are encouraged to submit their ideas at www.thebigstart.ae by 8 January, 2012 to be in with a chance to win their dream company upon graduation.

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