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UAE emboldens young innovators


Ritika Sharma / Emirates Business

Aiming to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for young innovators, various UAE companies are creating platforms to nurture the hidden talent in students by organising international competitions and networking workshops.
In one such initiative, Al Bayt Mitwahid, a public benefit association in UAE, partnered with Microsoft on the recently held Imagine Cup 2016, where young innovators from various educational institutes of UAE got a chance to showcase their innovations.
Talking to Emirates Business after successful completion of the Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2016, Mohamed Al Qadhi, vice chairman of the executive committee, Al Bayt Mitwahid Association said, “We believe it is our duty to
contribute towards addressing key community needs while catalyzing innovative and sustainable practices in line with the nation’s priorities. And Imagine Cup is one such catalyst that feeds well into this vision.”
“It is a platform that fosters students to channel their energy, passion and creativity into thoughtful innovative solutions to bring the real-world impact.
“The commitment we have seen of students towards their projects; demonstrates the potential of the youth of this country, to achieve more and find ways to address everyday challenges through technology, and make UAE a better place,” he added.
Microsoft received 173 proposals this year from UAE entrants – an all-time record in the Gulf region since the competition was launched in 2003. Twenty-six of these were in the Games category, 68 in Innovation and 79 in World Citizenship. Microsoft’s Imagine Cup challenges entrants, who must be 16 years or older or enrolled as a permanent student, to collaborate in teams and submit imaginative ideas in the field of technology. Competitors need to develop the concepts from scratch and defend their usability and market draw to a panel of judges.
“Developing youth capacities such as the ability to innovate is integral to the continued development and prosperity of this country. It is vital that we engender in them a strong sense of imagination and talent for solving problems. Competitions like this allow our young people to hone their confidence, so they can come to the table with fresh ideas,” said Al Qadhi.
“Our support for Imagine Cup echoes our commitment towards promoting STEM education
and nurturing innovation amongst youth of the country,” he added.
“The UAE sees itself as among
the best in the world in entrepreneurship and is intensely proud of its competitive, knowledge-based economy. By empowering the youth of today and moulding them into the innovators of tomorrow, Imagine Cup acts as a cornerstone of Microsoft’s commitment to realising that vision,” said Samer Abu Ltaif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf.
“The unthinkable inventions of our generation – the Internet, 4G connectivity and more – existed in the minds of a select few to begin with. It was only through collaboration and, yes, in some cases, competition, that those technologies came to change the way we live.”

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