Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based Unipreneur Is Empowering The Next Generation Of Entrepreneurs And Innovators In The Country Unipreneur was built using the triple helix model of innovation- a business concept that involves collaboration between universities, governments, and businesses.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Unipreneur
Mohammed Mukhtar and Reem Al Mosabbah, co-founders, Unipreneur

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.

In January 2019, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Fifty-Year Charter, which laid out nine different articles that could potentially reshape the future of the Emirate. When UAE-based entrepreneurs Mohammed Mukhtar and Reem Al Mosabbah came across article six of this Charter -which pertains to the creation of free economic and creative zones in universities- they felt inspired to contribute towards this particular goal. It was that spark that eventually led to the creation of Unipreneur, a Dubai-based youth entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and innovation development platform, in 2021.

"The problem we're solving is the lack of a youth-focused innovation incubator in the region, which can empower youth in the UAE with the right skills, tools, and support to become successful global entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and innovators," Mokhtar says. "The primary source of inspiration is the vision and support of UAE's leadership for youth empowerment. But, of course, our own challenges around future readiness, industry connections, and innovation development during our university days also served as an additional motivation to build such a dedicated platform for youth and students."

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Unipreneur was thus built using the triple helix model of innovation- a business concept that involves collaboration between universities, governments, and businesses. "Unipreneur's unique selling point is its focus on creating future leaders," Mukhtar adds. "We believe we are the only platform in the region based on the triple helix model of innovation, with a focus on entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and innovation development for youth. Additionally, innovation in strategy, engagements, and impact is important for us. Technology is a crucial tool that will help us further streamline innovation, enable inclusivity, and improve the overall youth development experience."

Bootstrapped since 2021, Unipreneur has already generated over AED2 million in revenue for its clients, and AED800,000 for itself, and Al Mosabbah is confident that the platform platform is only slated for further growth. "Our current business model is based on revenue generation through organizing youth-focussed events, programs, and activations for reputed government entities, corporate organizations, and academia," Al Mosabbah says. "And so, we see the current state of the business as being healthy, and in line with our initial vision of building Unipreneur as a reputed youth empowerment brand for the first two to three years of operations, before transitioning digitally. In the near future, our business model will expand with a major focus on digital or in-app engagements."

Mokhtar and Al Mosabbah are also now gearing up for the launch of Unipreneur's Young Innovators Attraction program, an initiative that aims to garner the attention of young minds across the country, with the support of the MBRIF Innovation Accelerator program. And when asked why the MBRIF program will be central to their startup's vision, the co-founders bring up the name of the UAE leader who has lent his name to this initiative. "One name: H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum," the duo say. "As the core of our youth programs are built around learning and implementing entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership lessons from the life of the Ruler of Dubai, we chose the MBRIF program so that we can develop such programs, and also achieve our dream of establishing the world's best youth innovation incubator in Dubai."

Related: Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based Pulse Is Aiding Early Detection Of Civil Infrastructure Deterioration Using Advanced Tech

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Writer at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is keen on pursuing and writing stories on people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

A bibliophile, chai addict, and photography enthusiast, she can be often found (animatedly) talking about Kdramas, BTS, cricket, novels, and comic book films.

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