News

Dubai, 5 October, 2019

Local and international Universities take part
in Dubai’s University Free Zones Strategy

Activating the Directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s
6th Article of the 50-Year Charter

Dubai, 5 October, 2019: The Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) has signed partnership agreements with a number of universities and organizations in Dubai as part of the activation and implementation of the 6th Article of the 50-Year Charter, which reflects the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to transform universities into economic and creative free zones that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among students. The signing ceremony was attended by HE Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation, HE Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet, HE Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai. The ceremony was also attended by HE Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, HE Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation and Malek Al Malek, Group CEO of TECOM Group. During the meeting, the University Entrepreneurship Program was launched with the aim to accelerate the implementation of the Dubai University Free Zones Strategy in collaboration with various government entities, universities and research bodies. Universities adopting the program include, Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology, University of Dubai, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, American University in Dubai, and the College of Fashion and Design, Dubai.

University Entrepreneurship Program: An Innovative Educational Program For Developing Entrepreneurial Skills.
The program aims primarily to support university students to start their entrepreneurial journey before graduating by providing them with skills and services that enable them to transform their ideas into well established businesses. It further aims to transform universities to entrepreneurial hubs where students have access to a supportive ecosystem of coaches, business experts, legal advisors, and much more, allowing them to work efficiently. All universities taking part in the project will adopt, develop and incorporate this program into their curriculum, as well as provide guidance for students and facilitate communication with investment agencies and organization to support student ideas and projects.

Five Main Stages
The University Entrepreneurship Program contributes to creating a suitable environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, employing modern technology in various vital sectors, and preparing young students for the future by developing their entrepreneurial capabilities through five main stages: learning about various successful experiences, understanding how projects and business models are developed, analyzing market needs in order to provide the required products and services, strengthen their marketing and commercial development skills and implementing and transforming ideas to reality.

Integration of Government and Private Collaborations.
The program was developed in collaboration with Dubai Future Foundation, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), TECOM and In5 in order to provide funding opportunities for entrepreneurs and facilitate access to commercial licensing. Additionally, the Dubai Government Legal Affairs Department, Dubai Government Media Office, AREA 2071, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund have also contributed to the establishment of the newly announced program. On this occasion, HE Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Finance said: “The Ministry is keen to support and promote the innovation environment in the UAE through the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund initiative, by partnering and activating channels of cooperation with various entities and institutions from the public and private sectors. “The University Entrepreneurship Program is a pioneering and innovative initiative that invests in the future, encourages creativity and innovation, and embodies the vision of our leadership in supporting students to create their own businesses, so that universities graduate successful student entrepreneurs. In the coming period, the Fund will continue its efforts to study and evaluate innovative projects and ideas to support them in line with its objectives of supporting the transition to a diversified and knowledge-based economy.”, he added. HE Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai, highlighted that the launch of the program supports the achievement of the objectives set out in the 50-year Charter, reflecting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council. He stressed the need to integrate the efforts of relevant entities and work in the spirit of one team to ensure that the objectives set out within the charter have been met; pointing out his happiness to the rapid response for entities to the implementation of the Charter’s objectives and how this step is a testament to the willingness and aspiration to realize leadership’s vision for the future of Dubai. Al Basti added: “Insuring successful implementation of The University Free Zones Strategy requires two main focuses. The first is to unleash the creativity and capabilities of students by creating an environment conducive to their creative and economic activities, enabling them to play an active role in the development process of Dubai in the future. The second focus entails, providing the necessary means to transform student ideas into reality, thus driving the progress and development of Dubai’s economic sectors. HE Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department noted: “This project aims to pave the way for future generations to be pioneers and innovators in all sectors and fields, and there is no better place than the vibrant environmentprovided by eager youth within universities. The project emphasizes Dubai’s ability and keenness to develop and facilitate trade, being the cornerstone of its success. This project promises greater success for our promising upcoming generation of entrepreneurs.” For her part, HE Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, praised the efforts of the Dubai Future Foundation in translating the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for the expected role of youth in enhancing and developing the economic sector of the UAE, and the foundation’s keenness to bring out the productive potential of our youth to boost their presence on the economic map of Dubai by transforming universities into economic and creative free zones. Al Marri went on to express the Government of Dubai Media Office’s pride to collaborate with the Dubai Future Foundation in supporting the University Entrepreneurship Program, stating: “Dubai has chosen creativity as an ally in its journey towards the future, and our wise leadership provides support and encouragement for creative individuals, entrenching the UAE’s position as a hub for innovation in the region. The launch of this program represents a first step in a promising journey aimed at empowering youth, and the development of educational curriculums that will further integrate the youth in the field of innovation and creativity to provide project ideas and initiatives that can benefit the community and the country as a whole”. HE Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said that the launch of this initiative in partnership between the public and private sectors represents a practical step towards the activation of the outcomes of the Dubai University Free Zones Strategy which was announced in March this year by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of DFF. “The various government and private entities involved in University Entrepreneurship Program are working closely on a number of joint projects and initiatives aimed at accelerating the development of an integrated ecosystem that encourages innovation and leadership among students to allow them to transform their innovative ideas into leading businesses and projects that contribute to the future economic sectors in Dubai”, he added. Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, a subsidiary of TECOM Group, said: “The University Entrepreneurship Program is a new initiative that strengthens Dubai’s leadership in the field of youth empowerment and the creation of an ecosystem that attracts talent and stimulates innovation. Many of the objectives of the Dubai University Free Zones Strategy intersect with the objectives of the business incubator In5, especially in the areas of talent adoption and investment. We are pleased to be an integral part of this initiative, especially as we have been able to support more than 200 startups and facilitate their financing for growth and expansion so far.” HE Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said: “The University Entrepreneurship Program marks a new era of molding a promising generation of entrepreneurs and we are delighted to see this initiative taking wings. It’s an integrated strategy towards empowering youth, and it will create the best environment for university students in the UAE to express their ideas, showcase their talent and launch a variety of innovative projects that will add value to Dubai and the UAE.” Al Janahi added: “Dubai SME has a long experience in nurturing entrepreneurial talent, idea incubation and enabling startup growth, and we have a major role in streamlining the functioning of business incubators and accelerators focusing on 4G technologies. We are confident that this program will provide the ideal tools for creative entrepreneurs to become successful.” Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, President & CEO of the Higher Colleges of Technology, said: “Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) are proud to be a part of this initiative, following the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. For the activation of the 6th Article of the 50-Year Charter, HCT seeks to provide a supportive environment for ideas to take shape, creativities to flourish, as well as provide guide the youth to create their future today.” Commenting on Zayed University’s participation in the project, Professor Reyadh Almehaideb, Vice President of university, said: “This pioneering project that aims to activate the 6th article of the 50-Year Charter supports the spirit of initiative among UAE youth and motivates them to play an active role in shaping a better future for our country and the world. This comes in line with Zayed University’s strategy to support students’ experiences and introduce them to the world of entrepreneurship while being at the forefront of the rapid developments and changes around the globe.” President of the University in Dubai, Dr. Eesa Bastaki, stressed the importance of collaboration between government entities and academic institutes to realize the vision of our leadership. Dr. Bastaki said, “In cooperation with Dubai Future Foundation, the University of Dubai undertook to implement Article 6 of Dubai 50-Year Charter by establishing the Free Zone for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which comes in line with HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s ambition to transform universities into innovation hubs that shape future entrepreneurs. In this sense, the educational system must evolve, considering technological developments in education and future directions of technology. This leads us to look for the possibility of making a qualitative leap in education that does not follow the conventional existing systems, in a way that transcends the geographical, time and capacity limitations and enables universities to make the transition from offering degrees only to providing students with the know-how and the means to start and manage their own businesses. As Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may Allah rest his soul) said: “The building of man in the next phase is a national necessity that precedes the construction of factories and installations because without good men, the prosperity of our people cannot be achieved.” This approach by the Emirate of Dubai underlines the wise leadership’s keenness to diversify economic resources and ensure the engagement of every member of the community to achieve this vision and to establish businesses that produce on a local level and sell at a global level. On this occasion, Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamad Bin Mohammed Smart University said: “part of our endeavor is to instill a culture of entrepreneurship among youth, especially university students, and pursuant to Article 6 of the Dubai 50-Year Charter, we are proud to partner with this project to transform universities into creative free zones that support students in education, research, and finance to become key players in the economy. Our participation falls in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the University, to create an advanced learning environment that supports the requirements of the future and shapes future entrepreneurs and knowledge ambassadors rather than job seekers. Dr. David A. Schmidt, President of the American University in Dubai, highlighted on this occasion, “The AUD & EI Center is the result of a great collaboration between AUD and the DFF to transform the education sector in the UAE and the region. This falls in line with Article 6 of the UAE 50-Year Charter, which aims to make universities Free Zones that graduate businesses, as well as students. AUD is proud to continue its journey of academic excellence and to lead in E&I area along with the DFF in this great educational transformation. Our faculty & students, along with our respected governmental and industry partners, will continue to set the standards for collaborative and academic excellence, thus greatly contributing to the entrepreneurial & educational standards that were set by the founders of the UAE.” Akash Kumar, Managing Director at The College of Fashion & Design, said, “This is a distinctive and innovative platform that aligns with the vision and objectives of the Dubai 50-Year Charter that aims to develop a generation of creative and innovative entrepreneurs. We at the College of Fashion and Design are proud to be a part of this project since its launch, and we look forward to providing the appropriate environment and support for the future generation of entrepreneurs in the UAE.”

Dubai Future Foundation
Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) is responsible for activating Article 6 of the 50-Year Charter through the implementation of the Dubai University Free Zones Strategy and its newly announced program, the “University Entrepreneurship Program” in collaboration with the relevant bodies. It oversees the implementation of projects, initiatives, and ideas launched within the framework of the strategy. Additionally, DFF develops executive plans, studies proposals, and cooperates with government and private entities, as well as educational institutions and research centers in Dubai and around the world, to oversee the launch and support of university startups.