Monday, February 14, 2011

Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) Launches Second Phase of Akoun

Abu Dhabi Continues Drive to Nurture Entrepreneurship amongst Young UAE

• Second phase to take on a more focused and practical approach
• 10 universities to participate - a potential reach of 1,000 students
• Workshop programme to feature prominent UAE National entrepreneurs
• Competition to be launched to find and support new entrepreneurial talents
• Campaign partners include Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi

Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Western Region Development Council and

Abu Dhabi, 14 February 2011 - The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) has
announced the launch of the second phase of Akoun, an ambitious campaign to nurture and
develop the culture of entrepreneurship amongst young UAE Nationals in the Emirate of Abu

First launched in partnership with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi
Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Western Region Development Council and twofour54
in November 2009, Akoun is an awareness program designed to inspire young UAE Nationals
to embrace the path towards entrepreneurship. By equipping them with the right attitude and
skills, the initiative aims to encourage young people to use their passion as a springboard, and
their ambition as fuel to launch a successful business of their own.


Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Director General of ADCED said: “nurturing a culture of
entrepreneurship among the youth population is key to energizing the economy of Abu
Dhabi. In support of the emirate’s Economic Vision 2030 that aims for sustainable growth on
a solid economic basis, Akoun aspires to infuse an entrepreneurial mindset among young UAE
Nationals so that they can contribute to the economy of Abu Dhabi in creating new, innovative
Emirati products and services.”

Workshop Programme

Building on the success of Akoun’s first year programme that saw ADCED conduct 11 workshops
attended by over 1300 students, the Akoun team will conduct a second series of workshops at
key universities across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Phase two will take on a more focused and
practical approach whereby smaller groups of students will be given a step by step guide to
putting a business plan together. Participants will be able to walk away from each session with
a completed document that could be used to apply for financing through Khalifa Fund or other
financial institutions.

UAE National entrepreneurs will also support by sharing their own experiences of setting up a
business to inspire and encourage attendees into turning their ideas into reality. Some of the
previous workshop presenters include jewelry designer Azza Al Qubaisi, renowned UAE cultural
ambassador and creator of the “Ask Ali” brand, Ali Al Saloom and Qais Sedki, the founder of
Page Flip Publishing and winner of Sheikh Zayed Book Award for "Children's Literature".

“Interacting with the young minds of students through participation in the Akoun campaign has
been a delight. It was reassuring to see the spark of entrepreneurship take hold in many of the
students’ eyes as ADCED focuses on the exciting opportunities and thrill of overcoming personal
challenges inherent in entrepreneurship," said Sedki.

"An optimist sees an opportunity in every single challenge; a pessimist sees a challenge in every
single opportunity. I participate in Akoun, because I want to inspire our youth to be optimistic
and build up a solid base of private small and medium enterprises, that are the backbone of
each and every economy,” said Alsaloom, Founder of Maestro Commercial Enterprises who
was awarded the Khalifa Fund Business Award by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al
Nahyan in 2010.


In addition, agencies partnering with ADCED such as Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development,
Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Western Region Development Council and
twofour54 will offer their insight into services they provide such as financing and the other
support available to students. Universities participating this year include Khalifa University,
Higher Colleges of Technology (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Madinat Zayed and Ruwais campuses), Zayed
University (Abu Dhabi campus), Abu Dhabi University, Al Hosn University and the United Arab
Emirates University.

Akoun Competition

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the hugely successful Akoun
Competition which seeks to find and support new entrepreneurial talent. For the second year
running, students will be invited to submit a business proposal which will then be judged and
evaluated by a panel of representatives from Akoun’s partners. Three winners will be chosen
from Abu Dhabi city; Al Ain and Al Gharbia and will receive the following:

1st prize: AED 50,000
2nd prize: AED 30,000
3rd prize: AED 20,000

Further support (financial and non-financial) will also be provided to those who meet the
criteria set by Khalifa Fund, whilst all competition applicants will receive detailed feedback and
recommendations on their submission. The closing date for the competition is April 30th, 2011,
and the winners will be announced at the Akoun Awards 2011 ceremony to be held on May
24th, 2011.

“Last year’s Akoun awareness campaign proved to be incredibly popular and inspired many
young UAE Nationals to follow their dreams. Thanks to the continued support of our partners,
the personal involvement of this year’s entrepreneurs and of course the ADCED Akoun team,
we believe that Akoun will again play a guiding role in inspiring a new generation of local
business leaders,” added Mr. Al Raqbani.

Additional information on Akoun, the workshops and Akoun competition can be found on the
dedicated website,

About Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development:

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) was established by Law No. 9 in May
2006. Acting as an economic policy advisory council, ADCED was established to facilitate economic
diversification and growth through creating greater understanding, cooperation and engagement
between the public and private sectors of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development's Board of Directors is comprised of 16 members
and includes representatives from the public sector, the private sector, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), and the Businessmen Councils. Since July 2010, ADCED's new board is
chaired by HE Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development (DED),
Chairman of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Higher Corporation for
Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp). The Vice Chairman of the Board is HE Faraj Bin Hmouda Al
Dhaheri, Chairman of Bin Hamoodah Group.

Our Vision

To bring together business and government leaders with the aim of making Abu Dhabi an international
economic hub, boasting a world-class economic environment with sustainable growth.

Our Mission

To develop policy recommendations and kick-start initiatives that promote sustainable and diversified
economic growth by improving Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure and business environment, and enhancing
human capital.

About Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development:

Khalifa Fund was launched on 3 June 2007 to help develop local enterprises, with the aim of creating a
new generation of Emirati entrepreneurs by instilling and deepening the culture of investment amongst
young people, as well as supporting and developing small to medium-sized investments in the Emirate.

Khalifa Fund provides integrated and comprehensive programmes to meet the needs and requirements
of investors seeking to establish or expand investments. Through efforts to create a favourable
investment environment and strengthen the capacity of potential investors, the Fund began to develop
a system of support services for entrepreneurs, including training, development and data and consulting
services, in addition to a number of marketing-focused initiatives.

About Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry is seeking to reposition itself as an important
policy advocate in Abu Dhabi and the leading business membership organization in the region. As the
established voice of business in Abu Dhabi and a winner of multiple Excellence Awards, the Abu Dhabi
Chamber is highly regarded for advising business and policy makers.

The Abu Dhabi Chamber provides a one-stop-shop service for businesses that need to grow by providing
specialist market information, research and feasibility studies and help to connect local and foreign
businesses via its network. As a major partner in the economic development plan of Abu Dhabi, the
Chamber can help businesses understand the impact of new legislation and policies and communicate
feedback through its equally unique relationship with the government. For more than 40 years, Abu
Dhabi Chamber has managed to acquire a range of original business information that is unmatched by
any other business organization within the region. The provision of business intelligence and linking
businesses with national and international opportunities are the pillars for Abu Dhabi Chamber’s
services, hence Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a network everyone wants to be part of.
The Chamber also contributes to the development of entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi through various
programmes that provide, business counseling, and training, among others.

About Western Region Development Council:

Western Region Development Council (WRDC) is the entity responsible for facilitating development and
promoting the region to attract investment to enable economic growth and raise the standards of living
for Al Gharbia’s residents. WRDC acts as a partner and guide to developers, businesses and investors
interested in Al Gharbia – to ensure a fast and efficient approval process for their plans and project

About twofour54º:

The core focus of twofour54 is to ‘enable the development of world class Arabic media and
entertainment content, by Arabs for Arabs, and to position Abu Dhabi as a regional centre of excellence
in content creation across all media platforms. twofour54° provides financing and support for
businesses and individuals targeting the Arab media and entertainment industry through its ibtikar