78 Emirati-owned projects presented during 'On Tour' events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Abu Dhabi: The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) has announced that 12 Emirati-led technology-driven projects reached the final round of the third edition of the Pitch@Palace UAE, besting other projects presented during the competition’s ‘On Tour’ events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The owners of the top projects will join a two-day boot camp to be held in the UAE capital from October 6 to 7, 2019.
The first ‘On Tour’ event was staged at New York University Abu Dhabi and featured a total of 44 entries, meanwhile, the second event held at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Dubai Men's Campus, featured 34 entries. The qualifiers from both ‘On Tour’ events will join the competition’s boot camp. During the boot camp, they will undergo intensive training to learn how to best present their proposals for the final round, which will be attended by influential business personalities and leaders.
The final ceremony where four winners will be selected shall be held on October 9, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which is now being dubbed as a destination of choice for innovative entrepreneurs. Winners will then have an opportunity to represent the UAE at the second Pitch@Palace GCC, which will be organized in the Kingdom of Bahrain on November 27, 2019. The four winners will also be given the chance to take part in Pitch@Palace Global, which is being sponsored and attended by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York, in December this year in the United Kingdom (UK).
Mouza Al Nasri, Acting Chief Executive Officer of KFED, said: “Year after year, we get impressed by the extraordinary young Emirati talents that we meet. We annually receive large high-tech and creative entries from Emirati entrepreneurs across the country. These are no ordinary projects because all of them are designed to boost the country’s vital sectors. Our panel of judges is always having a hard time choosing the final winners. Over the past three years, we at KFED have been proud of what we have accomplished through the Pitch@Palace UAE competition. We will continue to work hard to instil the spirit of entrepreneurship in our young citizens and help them become successful business owners. Through the competition and other initiatives, we aim to significantly contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”
Al Nasri congratulated the finalists and wished them success and prosperity. She also thanked KFED’s strategic local partners for contributing to the success of the current edition of Pitch@Palace UAE. Al Nasri emphasized the importance of cooperation and concerted efforts to achieve the best for the UAE and its citizens.
Al Nasri added that the competition is part of the Fund’s national efforts to build a culture of entrepreneurship in the country and encourage innovation within the local small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. The Emirati version of Pitch@Palace is one of KFED’s key programs that support technological innovations in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
Ramesh Jagannathan, Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship and Managing Director of StartAD, the innovation and entrepreneurship platform at New York University Abu Dhabi, commended the Pitch@Palace UAE for its pioneering role in encouraging citizens, especially young people, to share their ideas and creative projects. He said that it serves as a unique platform for Emirati entrepreneurs to present their projects to local, regional, and international leaders, expand their businesses, and develop their ideas.
He added: “As KFED’s strategic partner, we are delighted to be part of an initiative that helps spread an entrepreneurial culture in the UAE and extends a helping hand to our aspiring Emirati business owners, who aim to boost the national economy. I would like to congratulate all finalists, and we hope to help bolster their career and enhance their experience in implementing their innovative projects.”
For his part, Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, President and Chief Executive Officer of HCT, expressed his happiness with hosting the second ‘On Tour’ event, which enables entrepreneurs and SME owners to present their ideas before a global audience of business and interested elites, highlighting the competition’s key role in encouraging young people to step into the entrepreneurial field. He further praised KFED’s support for entrepreneurship and SMEs, stating that Pitch@Palace UAE represents a chance for participants to compete among each other in developing unique and creative ideas and to exchange experiences and knowledge with the expert panel of judges. He also expressed HCT’s keenness to strengthen ties and collaboration with the KFED and Pitch@Palace Global for the goal of helping students to develop and nurture their ideas.
In addition, Dr. Al Shamsi revealed that the HCT gives special attention to entrepreneurship as the nation’s first approved university to create economic and creative free zones inside its boundaries based on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in alignment with the 50-Year-Charter, which aims at allowing students to carry out business and creative activities as an integrated part of their higher education. This will now enable colleges and universities to have graduates who are well-established entrepreneurs and future technical leaders in their fields while providing continuing education opportunities. He added that these economic and creative zones help students develop their skills and establish future projects across various sectors.
The 12 qualified projects focus on the technology that serves humans, including the ‘Rafeeq’ application, which is a platform that links home owners with licensed maintenance and decoration service providers in the UAE; ‘Aryam’ project, which offers cooling suits to help workers contend with high weather temperatures to be able to work effectively; ‘Snackat Café,’ an Emirati owned and run platform that displays and sells home cooked food and desserts; ‘Gracia Group,’ which offers the world’s first model of providing agricultural sustainability through production, construction and education; ‘Taqweya,’ a platform that allows students to instantly find tutoring sessions with highly qualified tutors with the help of chatbots; and ‘Doctorsae.com,’ a web-based platform for all health entities in the UAE where patients can easily search for doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies.
Among the qualifiers announced during the ‘On Tour’ events were, the ‘Arabee’ project, which provides children with a comprehensive Arabic language learning program that encompasses songs, games, flash cards, worksheets and storybooks; ‘Teecho,’ that produces inspiring, ingenious and creative audio-visual material that supports teaching activities in schools; ‘Etechan,’ a provider of smart learning solutions to enhance education with latest technologies, mobile and web apps, 3D designs, animation and many more; ‘Referbility.com,’ which facilitates public talent crowdsourcing where users can get paid for referring friends or people within their networks to jobs; ‘The Helper,’ a prosthetic limbs enchantment company dedicated to helping the people of determination; and finally, ‘Hulexo’ project that offers an automation system for the operations of meal planning companies, by which they can generate a customized meal plan for each customer based on his/her body analysis and information.
KFED launched the Pitch@Palace UAE in November 2016, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who initiated the competition’s global version. The UAE version was made possible thanks to KFED’s strategic partnership with the office of Prince Andrew. KFED sought to bring the Pitch@Palace experience to the Middle East region.
The third edition is being held by KFED in collaboration with its strategic local partners. They are Dubai SME; Sandooq Al Watan; the Khalifa Innovation Center; the Abu Dhabi Global Market; the Higher Colleges of Technology; StartAD; the Takamul Programme; the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises and Projects; Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa); Sia Partners; the Global Innovation Institute; and Krypto Labs.