Dubai SME Approves First Business Incubator for Schools

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  • New facility will promote and help develop innovative ideas of students
  • Part of Dubai SME strategy to promote the entrepreneurship culture in Dubai
  • Initiative inspired by the Young Entrepreneur Competition, says Abdul Baset Al Janahi

Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, announced that GEMS Modern Academy (GMA)- Nad Al Sheba branch has launched an incubator to support innovative business ideas of students. Established in line with the accreditation programme of Dubai SME for incubators established by educational institutions, individuals and private as well as government entities, the GMA facility is the first of its kind in Dubai.

The new incubator underlines Dubai SME’s commitment to supporting innovative ideas of the student community and providing opportunities for the younger generation to engage in entrepreneurial pursuits, thus contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP) in Dubai and the UAE in the medium to long term.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said: “Our mission stems from a well-defined vision to achieve goals like providing support and business incubation opportunities to entrepreneurs and innovators in Dubai. In line with the vision of our leadership and based on the experience gathered from our Young Entrepreneur Competition over the past 15 years we strive to sow the seeds of entrepreneurship among children and provide then with the opportunity to experiment and learn. Endeavours like these require considerable time and efforts and their results may be seen after years.”

AlJanahi added that the Dubai SME philosophy is essentially linked to the emphasis of the leadership on investing in the young to groom a knowledgeable and innovation-driven generation that contributes to the progress of the nation. “The school incubator accreditation programme is part of our strategy for the future and it will enable public and private schools in Dubai to focus on giving students the opportunity to learn through experience-based methods.”

The initiative will see students at GEMS Modern Academy supported and mentored in developing and realizing their innovative business ideas, said Al Janahi.To ensure the success of this initiative, partnerships will be developed with the local community to help students fund and market their projects. The incubator will provide innovative labs for students and provide guidance services.

“We believe that developing and promoting entrepreneurship can start at an early age, especially among accomplished students.Dubai SME seeks to develop SMEs through its many initiatives and cooperate with the business community and schools. The schools will address community and school challenges among students and motivate them to find innovative solutions to address such problems. In addition, the schools will run a number of competitions across the year to identify the best projects and nominate them to participate in the Young Entrepreneur Competition,” Al Janahi concluded.

“We are proud that GEMS Modern Academy is the only school in Dubai with an accredited incubator,” said Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education. “This is a strong testimony to how the school inspires students to be changemakers by supporting them in shaping their ideas. The incubator will provide an excellent entrepreneurial opportunity for students to produce salable products with the participation of industry partners and mentors, placing them on track to achieve their future goals and aspirations, and making them real contributors to the UAE vision of innovation-driven growth.”

Schools wishing to participate in the incubator programme may apply for accreditation through Dubai SME. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions and submit documents and plans that will need to be approved by Dubai SME. Participating schools are expected to organise a number of training programmes for students throughout the year in the field of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

Dubai SMEs launched the Business Incubators and Accelerators accreditation programme in March 2018 with the aim to provide support, guidance, and follow-up for SMEs as well as organise business incubators and accelerators invested in 4G technologies in the Emirate of Dubai by providing an ideal environment for creative startups to conduct their business.

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