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AUS Alumni Entrepreneurs establish their own business ventures
Two alumni from the Interior Design program at American University of Sharjah (AUS) have successfully established a business venture called JuxtaPiece. The venture is based on a fourth year final design built semester project which involved producing a unique portrait of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS.
Arghavan Hatamabadi and Hanin Hazeem, graduates of the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), worked as a team on the project that dealt with modular elements juxtaposed to create an abstraction of a pictorial image, using wood as the primary material. Following the success of the project, the alumni subsequently integrated their individual ideas to create a firm that aims to enhance the importance of visual art, encourage customized products and provide a forum for communication between artists and customers via an online platform.
Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of CAAD, referred the alumni to Sheraa Entrepreneurship Center, an initiative of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) to support and develop entrepreneurship in the Emirate of Sharjah, which is headquartered at AUS. The alumni went through a program arranged by Sheraa called Pre- Accelerator that is geared towards entrepreneurship and small start-ups that possess an idea and a prototype and want to execute it and transform it into a real life business.
"Sheraa has been a great platform to get our name out and believe in our idea and process. They arranged facilitators from abroad to mentor us on how to turn a successful idea into a successful business," said Hatamabadi.
The team continues to expand their business venture through a range of products that include portraits, giveaways and wall features that are all inspired by the first portrait they did as part of their senior year project. They are also looking to expand to other fields as well such as furniture making and larger scale wall features, using recycled materials from waste management factories.
"As they say, if you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs. Both Hanin and I spent time working in a corporate architecture and interior design firms. Having tried that path, we ventured into entrepreneurship as we wanted to build our own dreams rather than our boss's!" added Hatamabadi.