Wednesday 5, October 2016

Sharjah – MENA Herald: Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and Chairperson of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa) witnessed the unveiling of Sheraa’s new facility in the American University of Sharjah. The event was held under the patronage of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi.
The new headquarter spans 650 square meters and serves as an expansive co-working space where creativity is fostered in an exuberant environment.
In the spirit of promoting youth entrepreneurship, a panel of recent start-up founders and aspiring students was brought together to share their stories of struggle and success, from the ideation stage until that of a prosperous start up. The second panel brought together the leaders of the universities, that have partnered with Sheraa, to discuss the role of education and universities in fostering the growth of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset.
The new collaborative co-working space brings together the community of entrepreneurs not only in Sharjah, but nationwide, to facilitate knowledge sharing and idea generation. Visitors will find that each corner of the hub is dedicated to a pillar in Sheraa’s vision as an entrepreneurship center. The open plan space is utilized by students and entrepreneurs alike to meet and create, with an in-house coffee shop making sure that energy levels never fall low. The seminar room provides a dedicated platform for inspirational speakers to come in and address the youth, while the coding room is where all hard skills can be learnt.
The event was attended by Sheikh Salim bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Ruler’s office; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD); Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations; Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder and Chairman of Barjeel Securities; H.E. Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC); H.E. Hussain Al-Mahmoudi, Chief Executive Officer of American University of Sharjah Enterprises; H.E. Marwan bin Jasim Al Serkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); H.E. Saif Mohammed Al-Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah; Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of American University of Sharjah (AUS); H.E. Khawla Jassim Al Serkal, ‎Director General at Sharjah Ladies Club, and other officials from various departments at the Sharjah government.
Ms. Najla Al-Midfa, General Manager of Sheraa, explains that the invigorating environment reflects Sheraa’s approach to inspiring the next wave of entrepreneurs: “Our new space harbors an energetic atmosphere, where the creativity and problem-solving skills of the youth will be harnessed to create innovative business ideas. We strongly believe that infusing a positive entrepreneurial spirit in today’s youth – through their immediate surrounding and resourceful guidance – will help identify their roles in the thriving start-up community. We are committed to ensuring that when young members walk out of this beautiful facility, they imbibe the relevant skills, wealth of mentorship and the confidence to make the world a better and stronger place.”

In time for accelerator
Sheraa’s flagship accelerator program and its first cohort was also announced during the launch and will start on the October 15. Following preliminary selection rounds where 19 teams were shortlisted, the three-month long, mentorship-driven accelerator will be a hands-on, idea-to-startup journey for young entrepreneurs. The teams will be supported with business connections and benefits such as office space, free trade license, access to investors and more, that will transform unique ideas into a living business reality. Sheraa’s accelerator program is the first in the country to be situated within a university, offering a distinct advantage for engaging young students and channeling their fresh perspective towards a tangible business proposition.
The new hub will continue to function as an incubator for promising start-ups, and house a ‘skill-development’ academy to bridge the skills gap between the university and workplace. It will also host workshops and expert talks to initiate a ripple effect of self-reflection and personal development amongst new and upcoming entrepreneurs.
Sheraa solemnly believes in the philosophy that the seeds of entrepreneurship must be sown early. To this effect, the space will also look to host and inspire students from various schools, and provide a glimpse of the challenging yet exciting world of entrepreneurship that awaits them. Through the co-working space, Sheraa is geared towards infusing a spirit of collaboration, inspiration and enthusiasm in the start-up ecosystem. Its concerted efforts in providing guidance and technical skills are well positioned to re-orient the outlook of young individuals, propelling their journey from being job seekers to successfully emerging as job creators.