StartUp Academy Sharjah to Hold its First Workshop on Wednesday


Anyone currently running a small business in the UAE or who is seeking to start a new operation can benefit from a new initiative from Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC). The influential women’s business organisation is holding the first in its series of workshops under ‘StartUp Academy Sharjah’ that have been set up to complement its work in growing theentrepreneurial spirit amongst youth, women and businesses in the Emirate of Sharjah. Operating under NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, SWBC’s aims to empower and support women professionally and economically.

Launched in conjunction with ITP Publishing Group and held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, UAE Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment and Founder and Patron of SBWC, StartUp Academy Sharjah has been established to be an educational and community buildingseries for entrepreneurs in the emirate. Open to both men and women, the theme of the inaugural workshop is ‘How to overcome funding challenges for start-ups and SMEs.’

“If you are an entrepreneur, one of the hardest things that you can experience is not knowing who to talk to about issues relating to your business – it can feel very lonely when you are running your own operation and are facing concerns, or if you have a great idea for a new business but don’t know how to get started. That was the driving force behind StartUp AcademySharjah. It aims to be a forum of knowledge where men and women in business can receive advice from expert presenters and also a platform where they can meet others in their situation, discuss solutions for their problems and explore new ideas,” said Her Excellency Ameera BinKaram, Deputy Chairperson of NAMA and Chairperson of SBWC.

SBWC and ITP Publishing Group’s ‘Arabian Business’ title will organise four workshops in 2016, with the first taking place on March 30 and subsequent sessions being held in May, September and December. The StartUp Academy Sharjah series aims to bring together like-minded small and medium business owners to analyse respective issues, grow ideas, and share theirexperiences. The programme has been established as a community series where the owners build their network and look at ways to enhance their businesses. In facilitating this, the programme aims to add to growth in revenues, staff and expenditure, all of which will positively impact the economy.

The official StartUp Academy Sharjah programme commences at 10.00am on March 30 with an opening address given by HE Ameera BinKaram. The keynote speech of the opening ceremony will be delivered by His Excellency Ibrahim Al Mansoori, COO of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. The inaugural workshop will then host a panel discussion with accomplishedbusiness leaders sharing their advice on how to secure funds for launching and growing businesses in the region. Panelists will include Shayma Fawaz, founder and CEO of “Gossip the Brand”; Elissa Freiha, co-founder of Dubai-based women-only group ‘WOMENA’; Craig Moore, founder of ‘Beehive,’ the region's first peer-to-peer finance platform and Ibrahim Jaber, co-founder of equity and loan crowd investing platform ‘Venturefin.’ Subsequent expert sessions will see Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha, co-founders of ‘Careem,’ a UAE-based success story in the region's transportation sector,  Ms Huda Al Lawati, Partner and CIO at Abraaj Capital, as well as Joy Ajlouny and Idriss Al Rifai, co-founders of ‘Fetchr,’ the first Silicon Valley- funded app in the MENA region. The invitees will be advising about the best practices for securing start-up finance for business.

“We are delighted to have secured the services of some of the region’s most dynamic entrepreneurs who will be imparting their expert knowledge and array of experiences in the setting up and running of small businesses. We envisage StartUp Academy Sharjah to be a major contribution to the successful running of SMEs in the region and an important initiative forUAE’s business landscape, with SMEs being the lifeblood of the region’s economy,” added BinKaram.

SBWC and ITP Publishing’s StartUp Academy Sharjah forms part of SBWC’s efforts to enhance the work environment for women, train and prepare them to enter into private economic activities and increase their participation in social and economic development. Incorporated in its schedule of events are a diverse programme of initiatives, including conferences, seminars,workshops and research activities. The organisation also works to forge partnerships with government entities, private bodies and foundations to facilitate its mission.

The StartUp Academy Sharjah workshops are open to the public, but registration is required. Anyone keen to take part should visit http://www.arabianbusiness.com/startup-academy/sharjah/.

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