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AUS holds Enterprising Youth Forum
Business leaders and experts gathered at American University of Sharjah (AUS) to talk about entrepreneurship at the AUS Enterprising Youth Form held on campus today April 28. The successful day-long event aimed to promote and build a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation among the youth. The forum comprised special panels as well as a workshop which focused on the various aspects of entrepreneurship.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of AUS, spoke about the university's commitment towards the pursuit of entrepreneurship by its students and alumni. "Our graduates will soon be able to develop their ideas in our upcoming Research, Technology, and Innovation Park, where they will be surrounded by a carefully selected mix of new businesses and successful ventures in important fields. But starting a new company requires more than space or funding, and so we are trying to build a culture of entrepreneurship as well as to provide the support people need to achieve their goals," said Dr. Kjerfve.
"You don't need to have decades of experience or a lifetime of savings to make a good idea work," added Dr. Kjerfve. "Using the technology sector as an example, Mark Zuckerberg started the first incarnation of Facebook when he was still a university student, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin were graduate students in a friend's garage while starting Google. Similarly, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were both still in their 20s when they invented the Apple I computer and started the company with that name. If you work hard, we might be speaking of you and your organization in the same way in a few years," he said.
Industry leaders, including AUS alumni, participated in the forum's interactive panels and discussed various factors pertaining to entrepreneurship and how individuals could thrive in today's competitive marketplace. The first panel, entitled The Big Idea: Innovation and Entrepreneurship was moderated by Najla Al Midfa, General Manager, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) and included Adel Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia; Hussain M. Al Mahmoudi, Chief Executive Officer, AUS Enterprises; Ziad Makhzoumi, CEO, Prime Strategy Consulting Group; Tushar Singhvi, Vice President, Corporate Development and Investments, Crescent Enterprises; and Lina Shehadeh, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, United Arab Bank and Wamda mentor.
The second panel, entitled "The Road from Here: AUS Alumni Entrepreneurs and Their Stories," saw the participation of Alumnus Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al Thani (SBA 2004), Chairman, Musafir.com; Alumna May Barber (CAAD 2008), Managing Partner, cARTel; and Alumnus Akbar Thumbay (CEN 2006), Vice President of Healthcare Division, Thumbay Group. The discussion was moderated by Alumna Raha Moharrak (CAAD 2008). The workshop on entrepreneurship which followed was led by Firas Raai, Head of Business & Product Development & Marketing, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. In the run-up to the event, workshops on UAE law for entrepreneurs and winning support for business ideas had been organized by Crescent Enterprises on April 11 and 13 respectively.
The event was sponsored by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Crescent Enterprises, CPC Holding, Emirates Global Aluminum, Petrofac, and Waha Capital and was organized by the AUS Office of Development and Alumni Affairs (ODAA) in collaboration with Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa).