Over 1,500 projects have been submitted by applicants in the first stage for this year’s 10th cycle of the Young Entrepreneur Competition (YEC 2014) organised by Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
Over 370 projects have been shortlisted from the initial applications and in the next stage the public will be given the opportunity to evaluate the projects on face book and Google+ before the final list of candidates are announced, according to the YEC Organising Committee. The applicants belong to the 16-25 age group.
YEC aims to inspire entrepreneurial spirit among students in the public and private secondary schools and universities across the UAE. The competition is an opportunity for participants to test-launch their entrepreneurial ideas and skills in a real world of business and also learn the basic principles of starting and operating a business.
Nearly 60% of the applicants are females and 50% are UAE nationals. Non-UAE nationals who came forward to participate in the competition include other GCC, Arab and expatriate students.
“The Young Entrepreneur Competition is continuing its successful journey in identifying entrepreneurial talent from a young age and helping potential entrepreneurs take their first step into the business world. The number and diversity of applicants every year proves that entrepreneurship holds a strong promise for future growth and sustainable development of the UAE and the region,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME.
“Every year we look to widen the scope and coverage of YEC to provide maximum opportunities for participants and the community at large. In view of the potential and popularity of social media nowadays we are inviting public to have a look at the projects on facebook and Google+ and provide their feedback,” said Abdul Aziz Al Mazami, Head of the YEC Organising Committee.
Participants register online on www.yec.ae and attend workshops, which are part of the approval process and aimed to help the students learn how to develop their concept. Participants will be allowed to amend project data and number of participants after attending the workshops and until they receive the approval on their projects.
The competition will feature a range of projects spanning fashion, fine arts, handicrafts, traditional or heritage products, health products excluding medicines, environmental awareness products (recycling, renewable energy), educational material (games, tools, modern teaching aids), interior design, cultural activities, and information technology.
Dubai SME is also organising a Kids Entrepreneurship Carnival this year along with YEC to allow children in the 5-12 age group to be part of the entrepreneurial learning drive.