Julia Grifferty, the 17-year-old founder of Boot the Bottle, carries her personal business cards to network with people she meets at environmental and social services conferences. Vidhyaa for The National
Julia Grifferty, the 17-year-old founder of Boot the Bottle, carries her personal business cards to network with people she meets at environmental and social services conferences. Vidhyaa for The Nati

Abu Dhabi teenage activists are all business with calling cards to prove it

ABU DHABI // When it comes to networking and promoting her cause, 17-year-old Julia Grifferty is all business and she has the cards to prove it.

The student of the American Community School carries her personal business cards to exchange with the people she meets at environmental and social services conferences.

The 12th grader said she thought she was “going to have to play the part” if she wanted to be treated like a professional.

As her business cards state, Julia is the founder of Boot the Bottle, a campaign she launched to ban the sale of bottled water in schools and boost the use of non-disposable bottles among students and labourers.

Julia said she thought of her business card as an opportunity to make a lasting impression.

“If you were dealing with other students, you don’t need it because there’s easily Facebook. But if you’re dealing with anyone above your age or who’s working, you need a business card,” she said.

“The point of taking out a card at the end is to make that connection.

“I think it’s about making a positive impact because the first thing they remember about you is what’s on your card. It’s like the elevator pitch on a card right there.”

Julia is not alone in her youthful savvy. Fatima Al Kaabi, a 14-year-old Emirati, also distributes her own business cards with the title of inventor.

Fatima, who was honoured by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, last year for her inventions, also gives out an index card listing her accomplishments and awards.

Another Emirati inventor, 15-year-old Khalifa Al Rumaithi, has a coloured booklet in Arabic and English that details his latest invention, which prevents children from sitting too close to the television.

Matt Bowman, founder of Tech Trep Academy, which offers online technology and entrepreneur education for children between eight and 14 years old at TechTrep.com, commended the students’ pluck.

“We think it is savvy entrepreneurship,” he said. “Instilling confidence at a young age is critical for future growth and success. They are also learning that they can do hard things.

“Learning to overcome and deal with adversity at a young age will benefit them in the future as they deal with setbacks and challenges.

“We have found that entrepreneurship is actually one of the best ways for young people to apply knowledge gained from traditional subject areas like maths, English and science.”

Mr Bowman said schools often failed to help students understand how to apply what they learn in real life

“Launching any type of business provides an immediate application of real skills and knowledge,” he said.

“Young entrepreneurs can gain significant advantage by applying the real-world skills of interpersonal communication, descriptive writing, problem solving, critical thinking, creative design, maths calculations, and building prototypes in ways that a ‘book-smart’ learner never will.”

Sulaf Saleh Al Zu’bi, chief executive of Injaz UAE, said there had been a definite trend in the UAE towards boosting students’ entrepreneurial skills, thanks largely to the Government’s support of small and medium-sized companies.

“The economy was encouraging it, educators were requesting it and there is a definite shift in the Ministry of Education to support it as well,” she said.

“There is no doubt about that, it’s an economic strategy that has been in place for awhile, now you’re starting to see the manifestation of it.”

Injaz UAE works with schools to teach entrepreneurial, work-readiness and financial literacy skills to students between 11 and 24 years old. Most of its students are Emiratis from public schools.

Ms Al Zu’bi said for students to succeed, they would have to develop skills and business leadership.

“Entrepreneurship should be taught just like mathematics and English because you will get problem-solvers, you will get inventors,” she said.

“The Arab world has to create jobs and the GCC is pushing for nationalisation in the workforce and Emiratisation. One way to do that is entrepreneurship. I don’t think it’s happening enough, to be honest.”

Julia credited her school’s social entrepreneurship programme, encouragement from her teacher and living in Abu Dhabi for helping her to develop her leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

“I don’t think I would be able to do this without having Ms Russell [her teacher] or the programme because I think Abu Dhabi is really welcoming to new ideas and initiatives. It’s all about innovation,” she said.


* The article has been amended since it was first published.


Crystal Palace 0 Manchester City 2

Man City: Jesus (39), David Silva (41)

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 


Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

When: April 25, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 1, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

The Kitchen

Director: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

Stars: Kane Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jnr, Fiona Marr

Rating: 3/5 


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 101hp
Torque: 135Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Price: From Dh79,900
On sale: Now

UAE tour of the Netherlands

UAE squad: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Shaiman Anwar, Ghulam Shabber, Mohammed Qasim, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Usman, Adnan Mufti, Chirag Suri, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Mohammed Naveed, Amjad Javed, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed
Fixtures and results:
Monday, UAE won by three wickets
Wednesday, 2nd 50-over match
Thursday, 3rd 50-over match


2.30pm: Park Avenue – Conditions (PA) Dh80,000 (Dirt) 2,000m; Winner: Rb Seqondtonone, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

3.05pm: Al Furjan – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,200m; Winner: Bosphorus, Dane O’Neill, Bhupat Seemar

3.40pm: Mina – Rated Condition (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,600m; Winner: Royal Mews, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar

4.15pm: Aliyah – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,900m; Winner: Ursa Minor, Ray Dawson, Ahmad bin Harmash

4.50pm: Riviera Beach – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 2,200m; Winner: Woodditton, Saif Al Balushi, Ahmad bin Harmash

5.25pm: Riviera – Handicap (TB) Dh2,000 (T) 2,000m; Winner: Al Madhar, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

6pm: Creek Views – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Al Salt, Dane O’Neill, Erwan Charpy

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.

All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Atletico Madrid v Sevilla (3pm)
Alaves v Real Madrid (6.15pm)
Malaga v Athletic Bilbao (8.30pm)
Girona v Barcelona (10.45pm)

Espanyol v Deportivo la Coruna (2pm)
Getafe v Villarreal (6.15pm)
Eibar v Celta Vigo (8.30pm)
Las Palmas v Leganes (8.30pm)
Real Sociedad v Valencia (10.45pm)

Real Betis v Levante (11.pm)

Where to buy and try:

Nutritional yeast


Organic Foods & Café

Bulletproof coffee

Wild & The Moon


Comptoir 102


Organic Foods & Café

Charcoal drinks and dishes

Various juice bars, including Comptoir 102

Bridgewater Tavern

3 Fils


Supermarkets across the UAE

How it works

1) The liquid nanoclay is a mixture of water and clay that aims to convert desert land to fertile ground

2) Instead of water draining straight through the sand, it apparently helps the soil retain water

3) One application is said to last five years

4) The cost of treatment per hectare (2.4 acres) of desert varies from $7,000 to $10,000 per hectare 

The specs: 2018 Audi Q5/SQ5

Price, base: Dh183,900 / Dh249,000
Engine: 2.0L, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder /  3.0L, turbocharged V6
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic / Eight-speed automatic
Power: 252hp @ 5,000rpm / 354hp @ 5,400rpm
Torque: 370Nm @ 1,600rpm / 500Nm @ 1,370rpm
Fuel economy: combined 7.2L / 100km / 8.3L / 100km

The biog

Favourite Emirati dish: Fish machboos

Favourite spice: Cumin

Family: mother, three sisters, three brothers and a two-year-old daughter

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Simon Pegg
Rating: 4/5

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

The Beekeeper

Director: David Ayer 

Starring: Jason Statham, Josh Hutcherson, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Minnie Driver, Jeremy Irons

Rating: 3/5

Mountain Boy

Director: Zainab Shaheen

Starring: Naser Al Messabi

Rating: 3/5

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