Zayed University students display their entrepreneurial spirit

Emirati students - past and present - from Zayed University have been showcasing their businesses at an event in Dubai

Zayed University students arrange stalls to help sell their products during the carnival at the university’s campus in Academic City in Dubai on May 7, 2014. Pawan Singh / The National
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Dubai // From design to dresses to “Emirati sushi”, the talent of the country’s young people is evident.

Their innovations were on display Wednesday at the Zayed University carnival where students – past and present – showcased their unique products.

Some students, such as Aisha Alowais and Maryam Alghafli, started their businesses after people had complimented their work that had first began as a hobby.

Ms Alowais, an interior design student, said her business began through her love for jewellery design.

“I did one drawing and everyone loved it. I did one T-shirt and everyone said ‘we want one’. So I decided to start my own business.”

Her top-selling items include mugs and phone covers.

“Everything is drawn by me,” said the 19-year-old, who has been running her business, Made With Love, for about 18 months.

Ms Alghafli, an alumni, meanwhile, started her business, Pnina and Moos, a year ago with her sister. Now working alone, she said her clothing line was getting popular.

“We just started as something to do during our free time,” she said. “But when we gained a lot of customers and promotions, shops started talking to us to display our stuff so we thought, ‘Oh, it’s serious’ – that’s why we are continuing now.”

Other students were showcasing their offerings for the first time.

Recent graduate Fatima Abdulrahman has mixed Emirati and Japanese cuisine.

The 21-year-old and her friends came up with Emirati sushi.

“Lots of people here love sushi and we thought we could blend it with an Emirati touch, so we replaced the rice with bread,” she said.

The menu features four main dishes, each with an Arabic name.

“We eat chips with bread and cheese, and we mix it with sauce. So we had the idea of making it more creative and decided to make it look like sushi,” she said.

There were more than 80 businesses at the Zayed University carnival yesterday – a two-day event at the Dubai Academic City main city.