Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, will launch the preliminary registration for the 8th cycle of the Young Entrepreneur Competition 2012 (YEC) on Sunday, the 29th of January 2012.
YEC 2012 aims to inculcate and encourage entrepreneurial spirit among students in the public and private secondary schools and universities across the UAE. The competition will be an opportunity for the participants to learn the basic principles of starting and operating a private business.
Through the competition Dubai SME also aims to inspire and enable the younger generations to become entrepreneurs in the future by introducing them to the foundations of entrepreneurship and a real world of business to compete.
YEC 2012 will have two stages of registration. Participants can join web-based training sessions on www.yec.ae  through a simple registration process to enter basic information on them and any business idea they have. The registration will be open from January 29 till February 15, 2012. After registering, participants will be invited to the three web-based training sessions, to be held from February 12 till March 1, 2012. These sessions will help the participants learn how to develop their concept, team and project.
After attending the second web-based training session, participants can then register their team and project into the competition, during February 20 to March 1, 2012.
“The YEC initiative reflects our commitment to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to sow the seeds of entrepreneurship at an early age. Dubai SME targets to help the youth to develop their business skills as part of our commitment to promote the small and medium businesses sector,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.
“Dubai SME is keen to build a generation of entrepreneurs who are confident and determined, in addition to providing them with opportunities to test their projects in the real world of business by dealing directly with customers and acquiring the negotiation skills and marketing acumen needed to grow their enterprise,” Al Janahi added.
Nisrin Safar, General Coordinator of YEC, said: “YEC has become an annual celebration of creativity, innovation and excellence, and a real opportunity for the younger generation to plan their future and lay the foundations to achieve their ambitions. Over the past years, the competition has achieved remarkable success with demand increasing every year since its launch in 2005. More than 2,000 projects and 6,500 students have already participated in the competition during the previous seven cycles, demonstrating the growth of the event and its success in nurturing entrepreneurs.”
Participation is open for high school (grade 10) and university students in the 15-25 age groups. The maximum number of students in each project should not exceed four. Each project team can have students from different schools, colleges and universities.
du has announced its sponsorship of the Young Entrepreneur Competition for the third consecutive year. To support the event, du will set up kiosks to allow university students to have a first-hand experience of retailing telecom products and services.
“We are very proud of our on-going partnership with the Young Entrepreneur Competition, and we wish the organisers and participants the best of luck for the 2012 session. This partnership is in line with our aims to achieve sustainable development through training future business professionals, by equipping them with the practical skills needed for their personal empowerment, while also nurturing their entrepreneurial skills,” said Hala Badri, Executive Vice President - Brand & Communications at du.
Dubai SME coordinates with ministries and educational institutions in the UAE to disseminate the concept of YEC among administrators and faculty members, and to attract wider participation in the competition. A four-day exhibition will also be organised across malls in Dubai between March 28 and 31, 2012 for participants to showcase their projects.
A jury comprising specialists from Dubai SME and external agencies will observe and evaluate the projects and select the winners depending on creativity, innovation, marketing and customer service. Winners will be honoured later by Dubai SME.
The competition will feature a range of projects spanning fashion, fine arts, handicrafts, traditional or heritage products, health products excluding medicines, environmental awareness products (recycling, renewable energy), educational material (games, tools, modern teaching aids), interior design, cultural activities, and information technology.
The three web-based training sessions, organised by Dubai SME in partnership with Potential, will focus on ‘Innovation’, ‘Build your Team and Submit your Project’, and ‘Business Model and Setup Costs’. The sessions will last for three weeks with a lecture per week for the convenience of all participants.
Shadi Banna, Managing Partner, Potential, said: “Potential is excited to be part of this entrepreneurial development programme where students can acquire and develop business skills from a very early age. YEC will not only help them construct and develop business ideas but also make it a fun experience while empowering and growing them into stars.”