Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, has announced the launch of the 9th cycle of the Young Entrepreneur Competition (YEC 2013), to be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. Online registration for the competition will be open from 23 December 2012 to 31 January 2013 on the website www.yec.ae .
For the first time, the competition will also be hosted in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah in 2013, thus allowing a greater number of students all over the UAE to participate in the event.
YEC 2013 aims to inculcate 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 business.
“After the success of YEC’s eight cycles, we are proud to announce the transition to a new and more inclusive stage as we introduce investment opportunities in successful and sustainable projects besides expanding to new locations in the UAE. We seek to target the largest possible number of school and university students in various parts of the UAE and facilitate their participation in the competition,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.
Al Janahi added: “The YEC competition growing through to the 9th cycle confirms our total commitment to fostering entrepreneurial spirit in the hearts of the younger generation by giving them exposure in the processes of buying and selling, and in preparing marketing plans for their projects, all within a competitive and real world of business.”
Nisrin Mohammed Al Harmoodi, General Coordinator of YEC, said: “The Young Entrepreneur Competition 2013 will be held in three locations for the first time: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ras Al Khaimah. Students from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region will showcase their projects in Abu Dhabi while the Dubai event will host students from Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. Students from Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah will showcase their projects in Ras Al Khaimah.”
Al Harmoodi explained that the registration for YEC 2013 will be completed in two stages - online registration on www.yec.ae  and attending workshops, which is part of the approval process. Participants will be allowed to amend project data and number of participants after attending the workshops and until they receive the approval on their projects. The workshops, aimed to help the students learn how to develop their concept, team and project will be held in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah in February after the preliminary phase.
A four-day exhibition for participants of YEC 2013 to showcase their projects will be organised in Abu Dhabi (3-6 April), Ras Al Khaimah (10-13 April) and in Dubai (April 17 and 20).
Dubai SME coordinates with ministries and educational institutions in the UAE to disseminate information on the YEC concept among administrators and faculty members, and to attract wider participation. High school (grade 10) and university students in the 15-25 age group can participate in the event. The maximum number of students in each project should not exceed four. A project team can have students from different schools, colleges and universities.
A jury comprising specialists from Dubai SME and external agencies will evaluate the projects and shortlist the best 100 before selecting the final winners. Creativity, innovation, marketing and customer service are the key criteria in selecting the winners. The 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.