‘Inventor mentor’ aims to help people of UAE get their ideas off the ground

Arabian Inventors helps pioneering people obtain patents and hopes to set up a service to put inventors in touch with investors.

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Martin Croucher

DUBAI // The Islamic world is responsible for some of the world’s most treasured inventions, from coffee to the first cameras.

But the Middle East has fallen behind much of the world in recent times, according to Arshad Aziz, a self-styled “inventor mentor”.

His organisation is aiming to help scientists in the UAE and across the region transform their ideas into patented, saleable pitches to big businesses.

“This region had a golden age, which had some of the world’s greatest inventions,” said Mr Aziz, who lives in Germany.

“But there is a big gap from then until now. It seems like people are sleeping. My goal is to wake them up and help them to lift out the inventions they have in their minds.”

He has run Arabian Inventors for 10 years as a free mentoring service for potential inventors.

Mr Aziz, 63, is originally from Karachi and was based in Dubai in the late 1990s. While in the UAE he developed a service that would provide video information for tourists.

He launched Arabian Inventors in 2003 because he believed there was not enough support for potential inventors in the region.

Over the past 10 years, he has offered crucial advice to help scores of people get their ideas patented and has listed those patents on his website. There are inventors from the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

From the UAE, there are 65 patents listed, including herbal antibiotics, a device for removing palm weevils and “a robot suitable for cleaning aircraft”.

Mr Aziz fields between five and 10 requests a day, and the number is growing.

He believes events such as the Abu Dhabi Science Festival, which aims to get young people interested in careers in science, have improved business.

He said he had discussions with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, but did not elaborate on any plans.

Mr Aziz has been in the UAE for the past week to discuss with inventors in Dubai whether there was the potential to offer a service to connect them with people interested in buying their ideas.

“We want to get these patents off paper and into production,” he said. “We would be targeting American and European companies but we’d ideally like them to be sold to businesses in the UAE or the region.

“It’s a goal to have a new invention be developed from scratch in the UAE, and manufactured here, too.”

For more information, visit www.arabianinventors.com.