Entrepreneurship boot camp on 'smart cities' and social businesses brings aspiring tycoons to UAE

It is the sort of idea that both inspires and warms the heart, using the most up-to-date thinking and technology to help people who are in desperate straits through no fault of their own.

Hope for Opportunity an online platform to provide quality education opportunities for Syrian refugees in camps.It is the brainchild of the UAE's Suaad Mohammed  Yousef Al Hammadi  and she presented it to the Global Youth Forum in Dubai.

In its first phase, the project will allow 500 refugees in camps  in Lebanon to access  skill training as well as  bringing them to the attention of potential employers "while simultaneously changing how the world views the refugees,” said Suaad.

It's the sort of project the conference  is all about, with eager young entrepreneurs and students from around the world, listening to and learning from  some of the most innovative minds in the modern business world, and  proving once again that when it comes to entrepreneurship, the UAE is up there with the best.

Yousef Khalili, one of the architects of  Dubai’s smart city project was just one of the many business experts from around the world who gathered  in Dubai   to share the wisdom of their experiences with an equally diverse and enthusiastic group of 96 young entrepreneurs and students from 26 countries. He held his eager audience captive, posing questions like: “What makes a city smart? What can it do for businesses?"

. He wanted to talk about other "smart" places too.  “We often talk about smart cities, let’s talk about smart villages today. Why not build services and systems that improve the lives in rural parts where the urban migrations often originate from,” he suggested. “For instance, it is possible to employ technology to connect the rural farmers with global exchange for selling their crops at the best price and the best time. This is just one of the ideas of how a rural community can benefit from smart technology.”

Mr Khalili’s engaging discourse on the potential created by smart communities for social businesses left many the room thinking of how they could build services that offer their own communities a slice of the “smart” initiative.

The platform, an annual conference facilitated by Czech-based organisation Youth Time, was conceived with this very idea in mind— to establish "meaningful exchange and learning between the enterprising youth and the industry experts,”said Youth Time founder Julia Kinash.  The conference theme this year was ethical entrepreneurship in a knowledge-based economy. “Our vision is to encourage new businesses to not just focus on building profits but also communities, by creating a positive social impact,” she told The National.

Among the contributors were Roman Vishnevskiy, expert on cryptocurrency and Dr Allam Ahmed, founder of World Association for Sustainable Development, among several others, offering their expertise on fund-raising, the use of technology and the social impact of business.

The UAE was the obvious partner, said Ms Kanish. Fatma Abdulla Al Rustamani, who is co-ordinator at the UAE's General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and the country's representative at the forum, agreed. “The UAE is now among the leading countries that not only encourage young entrepreneurs, but extend our support to such [social] businesses,” she told The National.

For the participants though, there was more at stake. Thirteen of them presented plans and ideas for social and sustainable businesses and community programmes, competing for a full grant to fulfil their dream project. Among other prizes up  for grabs were full and partial scholarships to some of the best business schools in Europe.

Networking is a key part of any business and the platform allowed entrepreneurs to build relationships that could turn into future collaborations. Joi Sears, founder of The Green Store, a sustainable fashion brand from the United States, told The National, “We have received so much support for our business idea by just being here and interacting with other participants.“Whether or not we win the grant, we have already won opportunities in form of valuable relationships,” she added.

Various Artists 
Habibi Funk: An Eclectic Selection Of Music From The Arab World (Habibi Funk)


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 


Director: Ismael Ferroukhi

Stars: Zakaria Inan, Sabrina Ouazani

3 stars


Co-founders of the company: Vilhelm Hedberg and Ravi Bhusari

Launch year: In 2016 ekar launched and signed an agreement with Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. In January 2017 ekar launched in Dubai in a partnership with the RTA.

Number of employees: Over 50

Financing stage: Series B currently being finalised

Investors: Series A - Audacia Capital 

Sector of operation: Transport

How to book

Call DHA on 800342

Once you are registered, you will receive a confirmation text message

Present the SMS and your Emirates ID at the centre
DHA medical personnel will take a nasal swab

Check results within 48 hours on the DHA app under ‘Lab Results’ and then ‘Patient Services’

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Dotemu
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 4/5

No more lice

Defining head lice

Pediculus humanus capitis are tiny wingless insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. The adult head louse is up to 3mm long, has six legs, and is tan to greyish-white in colour. The female lives up to four weeks and, once mature, can lay up to 10 eggs per day. These tiny nits firmly attach to the base of the hair shaft, get incubated by body heat and hatch in eight days or so.

Identifying lice

Lice can be identified by itching or a tickling sensation of something moving within the hair. One can confirm that a person has lice by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs or lice. Head lice are most frequently located behind the ears and near the neckline.

Treating lice at home

Head lice must be treated as soon as they are spotted. Start by checking everyone in the family for them, then follow these steps. Remove and wash all clothing and bedding with hot water. Apply medicine according to the label instructions. If some live lice are still found eight to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not re-treat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine-toothed comb.
After the initial treatment, check for, comb and remove nits and lice from hair every two to three days. Soak combs and brushes in hot water for 10 minutes.Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.

Courtesy Dr Vishal Rajmal Mehta, specialist paediatrics, RAK Hospital

Milestones on the road to union


October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.


March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.


Author: Leila Aboulela 

Publisher: Saqi Books

Pages: 320

Available: Now

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

How to watch Ireland v Pakistan in UAE

When: The one-off Test starts on Friday, May 11
What time: Each day’s play is scheduled to start at 2pm UAE time.
TV: The match will be broadcast on OSN Sports Cricket HD. Subscribers to the channel can also stream the action live on OSN Play.


Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today