The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), in cooperation with Khalifa Fund and Google, organized the RAK 19 Startup Weekend to facilitate future entrepreneurs in developing projects into market-ready products.
With the sponsorship of the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economic Development and the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, RAK 19 Startup Weekend was an event hosted at AURAK that attracted 190 participants with 31 new business ideas from across the United Arab Emirates, desiring to evolve an idea into a viable project ready for implementation. Over the course of the weekend, the event provided participants with leading industry mentors equipped to teach how to plan, implement, and follow through with a business plan. Many business ideas were presented, and among them were the first place winner, “Her Step Up,” the second place winner, “E Loyalty Card,” and the third place winner, “Maritime Inteltech.”
The Tourism Development Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Haitham Mattar, was equally delighted with the opportunity to participate in the weekend convention, “It gave us the opportunity to participate and present investment opportunities for products that Ras al Khaimaj Tourism Authority has put together for young Emiratis who aim to own their own businesses, and we want the young Emiratis to focus on this sector. It is becoming a very important sector for the UAE. It is work 164 billion dirhams for the UAE economy, which means one in every nine dirhams comes from traveling tourism for the UAE economy alone. Those investment opportunities for the young Emiratis whose ambitions are to own their own businesses outside the norm and something very unique will contribute not only to Ras al Khaimah, but also for the UAE as a whole.”
Mr. Ahmed Al Romaithi, the Project Manager of the Zaarie Program at the Kalifa Fund, wanted to stress the importance of programs such as this initiative that facilitate the growth of young Emirati entrepreneurs, “It is important to be a leading role in the local economy where small and medium enterprises represent a large part of the economies of developed countries.”
The Director General of the Department of Economic Development, Dr. Abdulrhman Al Shayeb, was enthusiastic in being able to contribute to such a promising endeavor, “This unique event represents a new gateway for our students to participate in innovation, competition, future opportunities, and outstanding achievements.” The department has agreed to grant future licenses to students with innovative ideas exempt from all fees. As a result of the RAK 19 Startup Weekend, a memorandum of understanding between AURAK and The Department of Economic Development materialized. In the MoU both institutions agreed to cooperate in the exchange of research, the training of students, sponsoring events, providing reduced tuition and training fees, employment opportunities, joint marketing, and encouraging entrepreneurship in developing projects into job market products.
AURAK President, Professor Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim, was pleased that the University was able to collaborate with such esteemed institutions as the Khalifa Fund, Google, the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economic Development, and the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority in a promising initiative that provided professional development, paving the way for the Ras Al Khaimah community to grow among competitors in the job market.
AURAK is a nonprofit, government-owned institution of higher education which provides the local, regional and international communities with a North American-style education integrated with Arabic customs and traditions. AURAK is licensed by the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates and has been accredited in the United States of America by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) since December 2018. AURAK offers a total of 22 accredited undergraduate and graduate programs across a wide range of disciplines.