Global and regional entrepreneurs, creatives, business leaders and influential business coaches from around the world will gather to discuss the factors influencing the UAE’s start-up sector growth over the next 50 years at the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF 2021) on November 22 and 23.
Organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa), the fifth edition of SEF will be held under the theme #WhenStarsCollide.
The in-person two-day event will be held at the Sharjah Expo Centre.
SEF will bring leading global speakers to the UAE and provide a platform for local and regional success stories to inspire the next generation of change-makers, said the event’s website.
“The world right now needs more entrepreneurs who think of the greater good of humanity,” Najla Al Midfa, chief executive of Sheraa, said.
Gulf countries are investing in growing their entrepreneurship ecosystem as they look to diversify their economies to fuel post-pandemic growth. Like its peers in the wider Gulf region, attracting foreign investment across sectors – including its start-up ecosystem – is a key priority for the Sharjah government, as it continues to diversify the emirate's economy.
In January last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Sharjah among the top 10 fastest-growing urban areas in the world.
The SEF will see Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi lead a keynote discussion, which will be moderated by Magnus Olsson, co-founder of ride-hailing app Careem, on November 22, Sheraa said on Saturday.
The two will discuss the increasing role and impact of the start-ups on the UAE’s growth and the importance of creating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow through adapting the education system of today, Sheraa added.
They will be joined by more than 50 leaders and entrepreneurs who will engage with 4,000 established and aspiring founders.
The festival seeks to drive meaningful impact and foster positive change in the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, said Sheraa.
Speaks at the event include: Nisreen Shocair, chief executive of the Middle East for YOOX Net-a-Porter; Amir Farha, founder of venture capital firm COTU Ventures; adventurer and entrepreneur Omar Samra; actor and singer Rashed Al Nuaimi; Amna Al Haddad, UAE Olympic weightlifter and entrepreneur; and business coach Lewis Howes, among others.
Sheraa – which means to sail in Arabic – is Sharjah’s initiative to build a start-up ecosystem in the emirate. It is headquartered at the American University of Sharjah and its hub, launched in September 2018, is based at the University of Sharjah.
It has helped founders scale their businesses through workshops, mentorships, introductions to investors, government partners and corporate entities to help them secure access to growth capital.