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AUS launches New Venture Challenge, the region’s most prestigious hard-science investment competition
American Univeristy of Sharjah (AUS) is set to host the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, with the inaugural AUS New Venture Challenge (NVC) taking place on the university’s campus between February 3-5, 2019.
Under the theme of big, brave and bold innovation, the NVC embraces the UAE’s spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. The challenge is a vehicle through which ambitious and passionate entrepreneurs from around the world can take their great idea from concept to commercial success, with the help of mentors in the form of seasoned investors, venture capitalists and researchers.
Teams of two to five students (comprised of at least one student currently enrolled in a graduate program or who has recently completed a graduate program) can register in the AUS NVC. While teams can be made up of members with a background in any discipline, the idea submitted must be borne of hard-science. Hard science refers to any of the natural or physical sciences, such as chemistry, biology or astronomy, where investigation occurs by means of hypothesis and experimentation. Examples include engineering, physics, medicine, life sciences, chemistry, biology, agriculture, energy and minerals, among others.
With a generous prize pool and access to internationally renowned mentors, the competition is expected to attract a large number of entries from the world’s leading universities. High-calibre judges will select 16 of the best entries, inviting the successful teams to travel to AUS to take part in three days of intensive competitions, with AUS covering most costs. During this time, teams will develop their idea, based on the advice and expertise of the mentors. Participants will take part in coaching and networking sessions, designed to ready their start-up for launch in the global marketplace.
The launch of the challenge comes as AUS steps-up its research and innovation agenda, committed to becoming one of the Middle East’s leading research universities by 2023. The university has recently launched its first doctoral program, the PhD in Engineering Systems Management, and is attracting internationally acclaimed academics to lead its ambitious research projects. Dr. Björn Kjerfve , Chancellor of AUS, says:
“The AUS New Venture Challenge is a great example of the university giving practical impetus to its commitment to research and innovation. The grand final event will see an outstanding group of talent descend on the university, with judges, mentors and participants who are all trailblazers in their respective fields. It is pertinent that this event is taking place in the UAE, as the country has set itself ambitious goals for scientific endeavor, evidenced by its National Innovation Strategy, space program and many other important initiatives. I am confident that the ideas of the challenge’s finalists will have an important impact both regionally and globally, and promote the reputation of Sharjah and the UAE as hubs for research and innovation.”
The NVC is sponsored by local and international companies and organizations which include Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Khatib Alami; Sharjah National Oil Company; Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park; Houston Technology Center – Asia & Middle East; along with AUS itself. For organizations wishing to sponsor the NVC, opportunities to do so still exist, with the sponsorship drive continuing up until the finals event in January. Organizations interested in sponsorship packages are invited to visit www.aus.edu/nvc. Applications for the challenge are open, with interested parties invited to apply or find out more on the website.