Mon 14-09-2020 17:24 PM
ABU DHABI, 14th September, 2020 (WAM) -- The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, ADEK, and startAD at NYU Abu Dhabi celebrate a successful end to the inaugural YouthTech Competition, a part of the Abu Dhabi Inspires programme, with a virtual closing ceremony this week.
The ceremony was chaired by Anteneh Zeleke, Youth Entrepreneurship Programmes Lead, and included keynote speeches by Samar Al Mansoori, ADEK Acting Executive Director of Higher Education Sector; Majid Al Shamsi, ADEK Higher Education Business Development Division Director and 42 Abu Dhabi Project Lead; Professor Ramesh Jagannathan, Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi and Managing Director of startAD.
The ceremony also included influential members of the UAE’s entrepreneurial community, keen to hear from the finalists first-hand as they presented their winning projects.
The competition has seen 173 successful participants, aged 18 to 29 years old from across the UAE, engage in a two-day boot camp, during which they received training and mentorship on ideation, virtual customer discovery, sustainability, rapid prototyping and presentation skills.
Following the boot camp, participants engaged in a four-week challenge-based learning programme which provided mentorship and training to develop critical, future-ready entrepreneurship, and innovation skills enabling the teams to build a business from the ground-up.
The programme has helped selected participants develop tech-enabled solutions to globally critical issues across four focus areas: education, the economy, society and infrastructure. After a multi-phased evaluation process, five outstanding projects with creative solutions, committed teams and demonstrable potential to scale to an impactful start-up ventures, were celebrated at the ceremony receiving recognition from UAE business leaders and cash prizes of up to AED8,000.
PinPoint, the first place winner, examined the challenges of social distancing and provided an innovative solution utilizing a deep learning model that processes footage from CCTV cameras to report live-data on how many people might be in a public space, such as a shop, providing real-time capacity updates. The objective of the data insights allow for informed marketing, advertising, movement and crowd control decisions by industry and government entities.
Second-place winner, Odysy, helps students make informed decisions about their future, while SmallWorld, which came in third provides an innovative platform to increase long-term humanitarian engagement among high school students. The fourth-place winner, Rehla aims to reshape education for many and bridge the gap in discovery education worldwide through the click of a button; and finally Baytuki, the fifth-place winner provides a disruptive concept designed to empower, educate, and enable women through a digital tool for real estate investment.
Samar Al Mansoori, ADEK Acting Executive Director of Higher Education Sector commented: "As we move towards a knowledge-based economy, entrepreneurship is key, especially when it is coupled with tech-enabled solutions that aim to solve real-life problems and challenges. To foster entrepreneurship, we joined forces with StartAD to launch the YouthTech Competition as part of the Abu Dhabi Inspires programme."
"We are certain that these projects will help in transforming education, the economy, infrastructure, and society; and will touch on the lives of many." said Eng. Majid Al Shamsi, ADEK Higher Education Business Development Division Director and 42, Abu Dhabi Project Lead.
"According to the UN 2020 World Youth Report, 600 million jobs would be needed in the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs," said Professor Ramesh Jagannathan, Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi and Managing Director of startAD.
Following the success of the YouthTech Competition, ADEK looks forward to announcing a series of challenges in the future which will continue to drive ADEKs vision and mandate to grow the youth talent and develop a culture of entrepreneurship throughout its education ecosystem.