By Rohma Sadaqat
Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) empowers young entrepreneurs to launch highly competitive sustainable ventures, and supports them by following up and developing their projects.
Ask Najla Al-Midfa about what is the hardest thing to do as an entrepreneur, and she will say that it is finding your first paying customer.
However, for the young entrepreneurs that have successfully completed Sheraa’s Accelerator program, that is not going to be much of a problem. One of the many benefits of Sheraa’s signature Accelerator program is that its offers aspiring startups access to markets.
This is one of the benefits that Al-Midfa, who is general manager of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), likes to highlight.
Launched in January 2016, under the patronage of Shaikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Sheraa empowers young entrepreneurs to launch highly competitive sustainable ventures, and supports them by following up and developing their projects.
“It’s been an amazing first year,” says Al-Midfa. “When we first started, we were only a three-person team. We hit the ground running, but we had a very successful launch and it set the platform for the year ahead. One of the first things that we wanted to do was inspire students and raise awareness about entrepreneurship.”
Entrepreneurship, she notes, is not exactly a very common word amongst students. “Not a lot of them really understand what it means to be an entrepreneur, and what it takes to start their business. So, one of the first things that we wanted to do was bring in a lot of role models. We wanted to show that you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley or even the US to begin your journey of becoming an entrepreneur.”
Then, it was time to work on skill development. Al-Midfa noted that it was apparent that inspiring the students wasn’t enough; they had to be taught the skills which they needed for their journey.