Dubai SME and AUD set up incubator to encourage entrepreneurship among students

Initiative will serve specialist sectors and encourage innovation among students

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - September 16, 2019: General view of the American University of Dubai campus. Dr David Schmidt is the new president of American University in Dubai. Monday the 16th of September 2019. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Dubai SME, a Dubai Department of Economic Development agency that oversees the small and medium enterprise sector, has teamed up with the American University in Dubai to set up a business incubator.

The new incubator at AUD embodies the vision laid down in the 50-Year Charter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to establish free economic and creative zones across universities in Dubai to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among students, Dubai SME said on Sunday.

“Business incubators in universities will strengthen youth orientation towards entrepreneurship and support them in launching entrepreneurial projects in varied sectors,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, chief executive of Dubai SME.

The SME sector in the UAE accounted for about 94 per cent of the total number companies and employed more than 86 per cent of the private sector workforce at the end of 2019, according to Ministry of Economy data.

In Dubai, SMEs accounted for 95 per cent of companies, employed 42 per cent of the workforce and contributed 40 per cent of the emirate’s gross domestic product.

The incubator in AUD joins similar initiatives at the Higher Colleges of Technology and the Amity University in Dubai, according to Dubai SME.

These incubators serve specialist sectors, including digital technology and robotics, design and innovations in the sustainability of energy, water, building materials, transport and waste treatment.

Specialist business incubators are being certified in Dubai schools, too, the DED agency said.

“Eventually, these incubators will produce a generation well aware of the techniques and tools needed for the sustainable development process in the UAE and the future economy in Dubai. Such initiatives are critical to enabling younger generations and entrepreneurs to achieve professional competencies and emerge as business leaders of the future,” said Mr Al Janahi.

The business incubators in universities will focus on global best practice. Students can benefit from common workspaces and incentives to launch their projects.

“By incubating these projects and providing the appropriate environment, we ensure the building of a new generation of creative graduates who are cognitively and innovatively qualified to create and anticipate the future,” said David Schmidt, president of AUD.

“We are graduating entrepreneurs and knowledge ambassadors instead of just job seekers.”