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Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based Startup Student10x Wants To Be A One-Stop-Shop For Student Supplies In The UAE From computer electronics that aid students in being better prepared for online classes, to various subject textbooks, Student10x, which is a part of in5's community of startups in Dubai, aims to work together with schools to provide students with school supplies at affordable prices.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Student10x
Talat Khalil, founder and CEO, Student10x

This article was built in partnership with in5, an enabling platform for tech, media and design startups.

As school closures and remote learning became the norm through the course of the COVID-19 crisis, the need for classroom furniture and supplies would have been virtually non-existent for a large part of this period. But the shift to online education did not entirely negate the need for some basic needs of students- stationery and books, for example.

Launched in the midst of the pandemic in November last year, Dubai-based startup Student10x is an e-commerce platform that caters specifically to students' school supply needs. From computer electronics that aid students in being better prepared for online classes, to various subject textbooks, Student10x, which is a part of in5's community of startups in Dubai, aims to work together with schools to provide students with school supplies at affordable prices that can also be quickly delivered.

"The main target of establishing Student10x is to remove the hassle of handling operations for schools and teachers, while allowing them to stay focused on their core mission of teaching," says founder and CEO Talat Khalil. "The platform includes, but is not limited to, stationery, school bags, project kits, laptops, study furniture, textbooks, uniforms, and educational tools." With many schools now reopening, and some opting for a hybrid learning environment, Khalil says Student10x primarily targets the UAE students' parents by aiming to provide personalized and convenient services.

The idea behind launching Student10x was driven by a very personal experience for Khalil- a phone call from his daughter's school requesting to prepare a costume for her by the very next day left him looking at multiple retail options but to no avail. "Due to the short notice, I spent over three hours searching at various shopping malls and ended up buying the required costume at double the price," he observes. Khalil therefore created Student10x to reduce the chances of such unfortunate experiences for other parents in the region.

"From the demand side, Student10x has received online orders from different Emirates, and they have been successfully fulfilled," says Khalil. "We are expected to onboard two to five schools in the upcoming three months. From a supply perspective, we have signed agreements with large suppliers and 3,349 products have recently been added to the platform from 35+ international and local brands. We are also partnering with a leading express and multinational courier operator to deliver orders across all Emirates."

Related: Sheikh Hamdan's New Digital Crowdfunding Platform Dubai Next Aims To Boost Funding For Innovative Startups

TREP' TALK: Talat Khalil, founder and CEO, Student10x

What are some of the key benefits you've seen operating as business in Dubai? Also, what have been your biggest challenges in doing business here?

One of the key challenges we've faced is that the COVID-19 crisis has enforced schools to eliminate interactive activities and events, which in turn has reduced the demand on some of our product categories. But in addition, we have also seen that, unfortunately, venture capitalists and angel investors give priority to investment in only particular startups. Having said that, Dubai and the UAE have achieved the highest rates in the region in terms of attracting venture capitals to invest in later-stage startups, so we remain optimistic. At the moment, we are working to raise pre-seed funding to speed up onboarding more schools to the platform.

Why did you choose your startup to be a part of in5? What has been the biggest benefit that you have personally experienced by being a part of in5?

in5 has given us access to an affordable business setup, especially in terms of trade license, visas and office space. But it also gives access to community wide networking events, workshops, and mentorship, which has been very helpful for us.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, do you think it is still a good time for people to follow through on their entrepreneurial dreams? What would be your advice to get entrepreneurs ready for their journey ahead?

Despite what happened in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe it is still a good time to find new opportunities and build new products. I'd highly recommend entrepreneurs to focus on the fast-growing industries, such as high-tech, logistics, and e-commerce. I would also encourage them to test their markets with minimal valuable products before investing their entire resources to build full-fledge products that might not be suitable for their target customers. The products can then keep being improved based on customer feedback.

Related: Due Diligence, Digitized: Dubai-Based Startup Diligend Is Working Towards Simplifying Decision-Making For Investors Through Its Centralized Platform

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor 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 particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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