Nine Emirati students walked away with Dh300,000 in cash prizes at the second annual awards conducted by Akoun in Abu Dhabi.
Three students were chosen from each region in the emirate with a first prize of Dh50,000, Dh30,000 for the second and Dh20,000 for the third.
Akoun, an initiative by the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED), was launched in 2009 in partnership with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Western Region Development Council and twofour54.
Abdullah Ahmad Al Shehi, a student from Khalifa University, had wanted to take part in the competition since its launch.
"I couldn't take part because I was under 21. It only made me more determined to take part this year," he said.
Al Shehi's idea is to start a comedy club that would act as a therapeutic for hospital patients. "I love theatre and comedy and I thought why not start a club in the UAE that would help treat patients and put a smile on their face?" said Al Shehi, who is also president of the theatre club at his university.
Al Shehi plans to take a course with the Khalifa Fund to look at the possibility of realising his business idea. According to his research, his plan would need a capital of Dh700,000 and would bring a full return on investment within three years.
Two students from the UAE University came up with My Locker, as a response to the lack of lockers on their campus.
"My Locker would include everything; it contains all of my activities, all the advice I need as a student," said Abdul Rahman Esmail.
"It would be both an actual and virtual locker, but we will start with an actual one."
Esmail and his colleague Mohammad Rashid Al Shamsi estimate an investment of Dh2 million to realise the plan.
They hope to get the funding from either the Khalifa Fund or other investors who are interested in their idea.
"Those projects or winners who are eligible according to the Khalifa Fund requirements can get funding and their projects can see the light," said Fahed Saeed Al Raqbani, Director-General of ADCED.
"It has been designed to promote entrepreneurship among university students in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region.
"We are looking at developing the Akoun initiative so that you can see more results out of it rather than just being an award. There is no job that's risk-free, even working for the government or working for a company.
From / Gulf News