Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based Platform SkillPlay Offers Students A Gamified Approach To Find Jobs And Internships In a bid to help students finetune their skills to match that of their preferred companies, the app enables users to engage with and research about different companies.
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This article is part of an ongoing series covering startups that have been a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program.
The discourse around how university graduates must work on their skillsets to ensure better chances of employment has been ongoing for years now. When the COVID-19 crisis amplified the job-hunting woes for graduates across the globe, the spotlight on that conversation only became brighter. Aiming to help students build their skills in a gamified approach, and find internships and jobs is UAE-based platform Skillplay.
"By playing a daily quiz and completing employer assignments, users can apply to the companies of their choice," says Ehteshamuddin Puthur, co-founder and CEO of Skillplay. "Currently, our focus is to help local Emirati students and fresh graduates get the right jobs and internships. 80% of fresh graduates are unprepared for work, with one of core reasons being limited access to industry skills and experience when the students are in university. Skillplay addresses this problem by using a gamified app."
Available to students for free on both the Apple iOS and Google Play stores, Skillplay also offers upskilling videos and masterclasses that have been built in collaboration with UAE-based startups, corporates, and government organizations. In a bid to help students finetune their skills to match that of their preferred companies, the app enables users to engage with and research about different companies. Furthermore, it provides a leaderboard that helps track performances with that of one's peers, and also to challenge friends to work towards a common skill. "As a gamified platform made for GenZs, Skillplay evaluates the skill levels of users, and connects them with the right employers," Puthur says. "We are building our tech to solve the problems students and fresh graduates have right now. Our tech revolves around the problem, and we believe we can make use of the technological disruptions to our favor. Our short masterclass videos from industry experts give our platform a human touch, while sharing the right knowledge."
Although the startup was launched less than a year ago in June 2022, it has already found favor from some key entities in the industry. "Skillplay has signed memorandums of understanding with 21 universities, and it has also opened up the app to individual users," Puthur says. "We are backed by Ma'an, an accelerator program in Abu Dhabi, and the MBRIF accelerator program, as well as Silicon Valley-based angel investment fund Udbhava Ventures. Our aim is to place 400,000 graduates by 2030."
Puthur and his team's goals may seem lofty, but the co-founder believes it is certainly achievable in what he calls "the land of dreamers." "The infrastructure and support system built by the UAE can help achieve any dream," Puthur says. "I had a very fascinating journey here. One thing I like about this country is it's always easy to get the first meeting. You can meet any stakeholder, and if your product and pitch goes well during the first meeting, you get the second meeting, and, eventually, you make a deal."
Of course, the MBRIF's role in steamrolling Skillplay's vision cannot be understated. "We joined the MBRIF accelerator program for many reasons, but mainly because it helps in connecting us to the right partners and investors, and it has also ensured that our business stays on the right path," Puthur concludes.