UAE Telco Du Launches Emirati Startup Challenge To Nurture Local Talent

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UAE telco du, in partnership with Zayed University is extending aspiring Emirati entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase their creative ideas, launching its Emirati startup challenge. The nationwide challenge will see Emirati students with an entrepreneurial mind pitch their concepts in front of a live audience and a judging panel for a chance to win prizes and work with a local business mentor. Co-organized by E11 Global, a global startups support platform, and Dubai’s Step Group the challenge is being kicked off to celebrate the Year of Zayed, and aims to “empower Emirati youth with an entrepreneurial drive and prepare them to successfully contribute to the UAE’s startup ecosystem.”

A scene from du Youth Council gathering

Image credit: Du.
While the challenge is sector-agnostic, the official website notes that there will be a preference for “business ideas revolving around tech innovations, social entrepreneurship and digital solutions” from Emirati nationals who are juniors, seniors, postgraduates, recent grads and alumni (in the age group of 19-24). Applications will be reviewed by an expert panel, who will shortlist participants for a two-day bootcamp on the basics of starting and scaling a venture. Post the bootcamp, the teams will have roughly 10 days to work on and submit their business plans. The challenge culminates with a Pitch Day to be held on April 30- a public event where finalists will have the chance to pitch in front of a jury panel including investors, accelerators, and entrepreneurs.


“We look forward to meeting candidates who foster creative ideas and are interested in being a part of the local startup ecosystem.” Abdulwahed Juma, the Executive Vice President of Brand and Corporate Communications at du, said in a statement. “Through this university-driven initiative, we want to encourage and inspire UAE nationals to pursue and develop their business ideas by being bold and well prepared to pursue their dreams,” he added. The initiative will award cash prizes to the top 3 teams to the tune of AED25,000, AED15,000, and AED10,000 respectively. Not just that, the winners also get access to exhibition space at STEP Conference 2019 to showcase their product, and will be connected to accelerator programs in the UAE.

To know more and/or to apply, visit the official page here. Hurry, applications close at midnight on April 8.

Related: Paradigm Shift: Meet Talib M. Alhinai, The Emirati Entrepreneur Reimagining Drone Tech