Sunday, March 20, 2011

Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) plants the seed of entrepreneurship amongst youth through Akoun


ADCED and partners give Abu Dhabi’s aspiring entrepreneurs chance of a lifetime

·         Over 800 students attend the first 8 workshops of ADCED’s 2011 Akoun campaign

·         Abu Dhabi youth provided with tools and knowledge for successful entrepreneurship

·         Ali Al Saloom and successful Emirati entrepreneurs share best practice 

·         Practical approach keeps entrepreneurship top of mind for Emirati students 

Abu Dhabi, 20 March 2011 The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) has kicked off its 2011 Akoun campaign with a series of completed workshops in universities across Abu Dhabi. An ambitious programme to nurture and develop the culture of entrepreneurship amongst young UAE Nationals across the emirate, Akoun is now in its second year and launched earlier last month with its first session at the Female Campus for the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Abu Dhabi.
To-date, workshops have been conducted in various universities, including the Higher Colleges of Technology in Madinat Zayed, Ruwais and Al Ain, the UAE University in Al Ain and Khalifa University.  

 Facilitated by Ali Al Saloom, UAE cultural ambassador and creator of the “Ask Ali” brand, the workshops engage students with a simplified approach to entrepreneurial thinking and present them with the tools for creating their own business plan. “If you think it, ink it,” said Ali to the students, encouraging them to pen all their business ideas.   

Throughout the workshops, students hear inspiring experiences from successful UAE entrepreneurs, including Qais Sedki, founder of Page Flip Publishing, Sumaya Al Maskari, owner of Petals Flowers & Events and Omar Al Bousaidy, Founder and CEO of Connections M.E who said “Success in the business world is an equation made up of hard work, persistence and market knowledge. An entrepreneur’s passion should be their driving force, but they must also remain grounded and realistic. Planning is a key element and I encourage you all to consider the tips that Ali puts forward at the Akoun workshop when penning your business plan.”

Representatives from Khalifa Fund, twofour54, the Mubdia’h Program of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Western Region Development Council were also present and shared their plans to support the talented students on their route to entrepreneurship with various integrated financing solutions and training programs. Students were also given a chance to address the entrepreneurs and partners with their questions and concerns. 

Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Director General of ADCED said: “The positive student turnout witnessed in the eight workshops so far, is testament to the appeal and promise of the Akoun program. Students attending this year have displayed ambition and eagerness to develop their entrepreneurial mindset and want the tools to turn their business ideas and dreams into a solid plan. Our aim is to help them achieve this together with the support of our partners. ”

The students left the workshops feeling inspired and keen to apply what they learned. A student from HCT Ruwais said “I believe one of the successful aspects of the Akoun workshops is having real entrepreneurs share their experience because people do not believe in a cause unless they touch and feel others’ experiences”

The workshops will continue into April with sessions at Al Hosn University, Zayed University, HCT Abu Dhabi Men’s College & Abu Dhabi University and will culminate with the 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 in May, 2011.

First launched in 2009 in partnership with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Western Region Development Council and twofour54, Akoun “Phase II” workshops aim to build on the concept of entrepreneurship that was introduced to students in “Phase I” of the initiative. The workshops aim to teach young UAE nationals how to structure their own business plan by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to do so alongside encouraging them to allow their passion and love to drive them in pursuing their business ideas.

Additional information on Akoun, the workshops and Akoun competition can be found on the dedicated website, http://www.adced.ae/akoun.

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