Beyond The Pitch

Staff Report

New start-up programme for youth launches

The UAE is ripe with entrepreneurial opportunities, but it takes a lot of effort and support for a start-up to successfully take off. Platforms like startAD then - an innovation and entrepreneurship platform that supports the development of start-ups in the UAE ÔÇô are godsend for budding UAE-based entrepreneurs due to its eclectic core programmes and education initiatives.

In line with the companyÔÇÖs goal to nurture the local start-up scene, startAD recently launched a new programme, Beyond the Pitch, which is specifically aimed at residents between the ages of 18 and 25. It targets those with an idea for a technology-based venture that supports the UAEÔÇÖs commitment to establishing an innovative and diversified economy.

Beyond the Pitch is challenging UAEÔÇÖs young innovators to submit their ideas under the theme ÔÇ£Made in the UAEÔÇØ. Their ideas must align with UAEÔÇÖs commitment to innovation in the areas of mobility, health, happiness, education, diversity and society, and sustainability. The deadline to apply by is February 15, 2018 via ÔÇ£Beyond the Pitch translates the ambition of the youth in the UAE into global impact.

There are various existing high-quality start-up challenges and hackathons in the UAE, however, they focus more on the start-up pitch than on understanding and developing the problem-solution fit. Beyond the Pitch will address this critical gap and empower teams with the tools and processes to grow their start-ups,ÔÇØ said startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan.

Teams that qualify will get the opportunity to acquire the tools and knowledge required to develop a comprehensive new venture that is validated, scalable and repeatable. The focus of the training will be to develop a deep understanding of how to identify a problem and work towards a solution by understanding how to evaluate the market, speak with customers, and develop a working business model.

Each team will be matched with a mentor from amongst a selection of industry experts, start-up founders, and investors that will guide them through the programme and provide feedback through one-on-one sessions.

The two-month programme will start in February 2018 and culminate in a Demo Day in April when cash prizes will be awarded to teams that demonstrate the best business model and potential for impact in the UAE. All sessions will take place at startAD Central located at NYU Abu Dhabi.

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