Smart Guide, an app that acts as a personal tour guide won among other startups at the Startup Weekend hosted by Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) from 27 to 29 September 2018.
True to its name, (Sheraa means sail in Arabic) inspires youth to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and empowers them to navigate through the processes of launching a business, transforming them from job seekers to job creators in the United Arab Emirates and the wider region. It runs the country’s first university-based ‘accelerator’ program, offering a mentorship-driven, three-month entrepreneurship boot camp to support teams that demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and courage.
Continuing to play its part and pursuing its commitment to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the intense 54-hour event brought together startup enthusiasts to share ideas, experiences, and launch businesses.
Forty-five registered teams were given the opportunity to immerse themselves in an ideal environment that enabled concepts to turn into reality. The three-day event kicked off with a “pitch your idea” round, followed by a shortlisting process to decide on the 10 finalists. Day two was filled with various workshops that gave participants access to Sheraa mentors while working on their ideas.
The weekend concluded with startups pitching their ideas to a panel of judges who chose Falcon – an e-scooter sharing concept that simplifies the issue of short distance travel, Smart Guide – an app that acts as a personal tour guide and Wave – an audio recording and audio marking application, received AED 25,000 (USD 6,800), AED 15,000 and AED 5,000 respectively.
“A launchpad to create a startup in 54 hours”
Commenting on the occasion, Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said: “This Startup Weekend holds added significance because it is also Sheraa’s inaugural community event at our new University of Sharjah Hub. The competition provides anyone curious about entrepreneurship with a launchpad to create a startup in 54 hours, and we are excited to see the ventures that will grow out of the innovative ideas developed over this weekend.
“This would not have been possible without the support of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and Sandooq Al Watan, with whom we have also launched the Emirati Innovator track to further support pioneering Emirati founders.”
Launched in January 2016, under the patronage of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi it aims to provide a launch pad for aspiring and established entrepreneurs in the UAE. Sheraa’s state-of-the-art coworking facility is headquartered at the American University of Sharjah and hosts a community of students and ambitious entrepreneurs. The second Sheraa hub launched in September 2018 and is located at the University of Sharjah.