In order to encourage entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to take it to the next level, Sharjah Tatweer Forum and a group of students from the American University in Sharjah have announced that they are organizing the first “Sharjah Startup Weekend.” The event, which will be held under the patronage and with the attendance of Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), will take place on September 27 through 29 at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the theme of “innovation”.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
Both Sharjah Tatweer Forum and Shurooq are Sharjah-based entities concerned with sustainable development and with encouraging entrepreneurs to take a more active role in developing the private and SME sector in the Emirate. Startup Weekend is not a new concept to the UAE but is the first for Sharjah. Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington and a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who learn the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Startup Weekend boasts over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world.
“Sharjah Tatweer Forum has been working for the past two years on developing the entrepreneurial spirit with its members and young nationals to bring out innovative ideas and to facilitate their implementation, “Jassem Al Beloushi Chairman of Sharjah Tatweer Forum stated. “We are honoured with the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi of this event as a representative of a youthful generation as well as the chairwoman of Sharjah’s vibrant investment and development authority.”
The Sharjah Startup Weekend is an opportunity to showcase examples of success through the mentors and coaches who will include a number of Sharjah entrepreneurs, businessmen as well as professional coaches. Entities involved in the event will also include the major funding agencies such as Ruwad and Khalifa Fund; government departments and the private sector as well as entities concerned with supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs in Sharjah such as the Sharjah Business Women’s Council and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Sharjah Startup Weekend will also be followed by a regional meeting of all organizers of Startup weekend events in the Middle East and North Africa to strategize, evaluate past events, examine available resources in the region as well as plan for next year’s calendar of events. The event will also be held in Sharjah in cooperation with Sharjah Tatweer Forum.