Business leaders, senior government officials and key decision makers in the UAE have lauded the extraordinary success of the recently concluded fourth edition of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF), organised virtually for the first time this year by Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa). Citing the strategic role of entrepreneurship as an integral pillar of competitive economies, prominent public and private figures in Sharjah have commended the growing trend amongst entrepreneurs to use their businesses as a force for good.
Right time to launch new projects
Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), said: “The remarkable stories shared at SEF 2020 have shown us how inclusive and sustainable models of entrepreneurship are helping protect livelihoods and improve access to essential needs for vulnerable populations everywhere.”
“More importantly, it’s shown the innate potential everyone has to develop solutions to global challenges, given the right support. Now more than ever, it is time for the changemakers in our societies to rise up to the needs of our planet, and help shape a safer, more prosperous future.”
Investment in social impact
Mohamad Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah - a partner of SEF 2020, said: "By using their knowledge and experience to enable societies become agents of their own change, social entrepreneurs and their community partners are driving impact at all levels and strengthening their relationship with the public.”
He pointed out that investors also champion enterprises that create jobs, offer solutions to global challenges, and accelerate a new era of sustainable business practices. Such entrepreneurs receive support and seed money more easily than those whose sole objective is profitability, he said, adding that the Sharjah FDI office prioritises investments with social impact in line with its commitment to ensure the sustainability of Sharjah’s economy and enhance the quality of life of its communities.
Human intelligence to drive the future
Amin Al Zarouni, CEO of Sahab Smart Solutions, another partner of SEF 2020 said: "We were delighted to support the festival and play a part in introducing the audience to its goals and outputs. Some of the most cutting edge technologies and leading digital platforms that exist today are a result of entrepreneurs and young innovators from all over the world, therefore we continue to support tech-driven entrepreneurs in the UAE and the region who continue to be the key drivers for all the digital transformation that is taking place around us.”
He said: "Technology can provide a platform for entrepreneurs to connect with their clients and communities and is a means to market their products. However, it is the uniqueness of human intelligence in applying acquired knowledge to take rational decisions that are the decisive factors in determining the success of any startup or venture.”
Optimistic about building a better future
Expressing her optimism in both the current and future entrepreneurial ecosystem, Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO, Acumen, said: "The resilience of a new generation that refuses to wait for someone else to solve their problems gives me hope."
She continued: "It will take grit and moral imagination, and it will take all of us, but together, I believe, we can build a better future in which we give more to the world than we take from it."
Haleema Humaid Al Owais, CEO of Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Real Estate company, said: "All businesses have endured critical challenges in 2020, slowing growth rates and global development. Even though the uncertainty has not lifted, there are ample opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups to enhance community development and revitalise the economic activity."
She added: "We believe in long-term business project planning. We also believe that entrepreneurial projects that align with communities' needs will play a significant role in the eventual recovery of global economies. This is what we were keen to convey through our strategic partnership with Sheraa at the fourth edition of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF)."