Dubai – MENA Herald: GEMS Education has launched the Arab Innovation Centre for Education (AICE) Accelerator programme, an initiative supporting school students in the UAE in their efforts to create their own start-ups.
The programme, which is the first of its kind in the region, will provide select start-ups with mentorship, training, grant fund and opportunity for pitching and networking with business leaders and investors.
Dino Varkey, Group Executive Director and Board Member of GEMS Education said: “The launch of the first programme under the Arab Innovation Centre for Education has marked a great milestone in support of the UAE Leadership’s ambitious vision to contribute to the development and nurturing of entrepreneurial spirit in the region. As GEMS, we are proud to support this vision by helping to grow generations of problem-solvers, thinkers and doers, creating positive value in society”
There are 10 teams participating in the first round of this initiative. The teams have been diligently assessed and shortlisted from over 700 applicants based on innovation and commercial feasibility of their ideas, among other criteria. Each team has been paired with a mentor, who are accomplished individuals from various industries and the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Besides mentor sessions, all teams were a part of an intensive day long training bootcamp that took place last week, where they received training and participated in workshops covering 21st century skills, business modelling and planning, design thinking, user experience and how to pitch to investors.
Their training will culminate in a Demo Day, where each team will get 10 minutes to pitch to and interact with leaders and investors in the region, including Leaders from GEMS Education, the Prime Minister’s Office, various incubators and venture capital firms and various industries. The Demo Day will be on April 26 at GEMS Wellington Academy in Silicon Oasis.
The programme will end with the GEMS Innovation Awards Ceremony on May 3, 2016 at GEMS Wellington International School, Sheikh Zayed Road; where awards and merits will be distributed to the winning teams from the GEMS Maker Day and Ibdaa Week of Innovation. The winner of the Accelerator Programme will receive the Sunny Varkey Entrepreneur of the Year award, which includes financial support and business mentoring to accelerate their ideas into realisation.
The young entrepreneurs hail from different schools, including Cambridge International School Dubai, GEMS International School Al Khail, GEMS Modern Academy, GEMS World Academy, Our Own English High School Al Ain, Our Own English High School Fujairah, The Millennium School and The Winchester School Jebel Ali.
GEMS Education conceived and launched the AICE to provide a platform and build an ecosystem to promote, foster and practise research, innovation and entrepreneurship. It provides and supports open innovation, collaboration and access to national and regional talent to create solutions, nurture entrepreneurs and build a robust think-tank community.
“With AICE, we truly hope to support the innovation and creativity that can be found in our young people. We believe that these are important talents that need to be nurtured so that they are able to be even more successful in their future lives.” Dino concluded.