Sheraa and SPEA kickstart online startup Sharjah competition for distance-learning students

Accelerating efforts to instill critical thinking skills, creativity, and the entrepreneurial mindset among stay-at-home students, amid COVID-19 concerns, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), in partnership with the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA), has officially announced the launch of its second phase of their partnership. In its second edition, Startup Sharjah will bring together high school students for a two-week intensive bootcamp. The students will compete with each other using their tech-enabled ideas, all of which revolve around the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. The program began on June 14th, 2020.

Adapted into an online format in order to uphold health and safety regulations, the second Startup Sharjah competition is a part of the Future Changemakers initiative. The initiative was launched in April to utilize the remote learning period and encourage students to discover, invest in, and foster their talent. The Startup Sharjah applicants have been selected from within the Sheraa Online School.

Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said, "Through programs such as the Sheraa Online School and Startup Sharjah, we strive to create an interactive educational experience that will provide our future changemakers with the right tools and - more importantly - the entrepreneurial mindset that will enable them to build high-impact ventures. By focusing this competition on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we aim to teach these students that you are never too young to make a difference, and we are excited to showcase what passionate youth are capable of.”

Designed to build a startup, from conception to prototype, the online program consists of weekly workshops and one-on-one mentorship sessions, covering topics such as market validation, prototyping, and financials. The students will also be connected to seasoned founders from the Sheraa Alumni community who will help in mentoring their venture creation process.

Twenty shortlisted students will get the opportunity to pitch their tech-enabled business idea in front of an online judging panel of ecosystem leaders, after which the top three will be awarded grants of 10,000 AED, 5,000 AED, and 2,500 AED respectively.

2019 was a productive year for EdTech in MENA, as the industry witnessed more deals (29) and total funding ($20M) than any previous year. Access more data and trends in our new 2019 MENA Education Venture Investment Report.