The AASTMT Entrepreneurship Center held an online workshop titled “How to Become an Entrepreneur”, which is the first in a series that aims to prepare AASTMT students, who are willing to participate in the “Arab Rally for Entrepreneurship”. This year, the annual competition focused on entrepreneurship in the maritime sector. The virtual workshop was hosted by Dr. Wael El-Desouky, Director of the Entrepreneurship Center, AASTMT, with the participation of more than 50 students representing the academy from Egypt, UAE, Syria and Greece.
Kickstarting next month, the competition will have two finals. The first will be held in Expo2020 Dubai and will be open for all university students. The second will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and will be exclusively for students from the Academy.
A hub for talent & innovation
The first workshop paved the way for the launch of the annual competition. The event received active participation from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport branch in Sharjah (AASTS). The primary aim was to spark the students’ interest in entrepreneurship in the maritime sector, while also establishing an incubator that will support aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses in Sharjah.
H.E. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport said, “Since the launch of the Academy, we have always set our sights on stimulating creativity and innovation among our students, encouraging them to think freely, heading towards establishing projects and opportunities that will promote the growth of the industry,”
“Inspired by the UAE Innovation initiative, these workshops were launched with a commendable effort from the Academy’s branch in Sharjah. We hope to open the doors for our students to a promising future in a field filled with great opportunities. This is the ideal time to start a small tech company that can grow and expand its business steadily, especially with the rapid adoption of digitalization in the maritime sector, which is still a virgin arena for creative entrepreneurs. Our ambition is to see each of our students with their own project before they graduate,” added.
Empowering the younger generation
Dr. Capt. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean, College of Maritime Transport and Technology, AASTS stated, “The education we offer differs from any of the other theoretical disciplines that students study elsewhere, as we provide practical and applied experience and give ample opportunities. Our goal is to conduct research that promotes the growth of the blue economy in the UAE, while also empowering our students to engage with new technologies, including blockchain, the Internet of things, cloud technology, automation, robotic solutions, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science. Digital tools are very important, and help improve the level of operational processes, and achieve great benefits for the local and regional industry, and this series of workshops with the Arab Rally organized by the Entrepreneurship Center at AASTMT, will help students to master the skill of transforming scientific ideas into commercial projects, This requires strategic thinking, commercial marketing, time management capabilities, communication skills and financial management.”
In his speech, Dr. El-Desouky addressed the difference between entrepreneurs, traditional businessmen and small and medium enterprises. He stated that entrepreneurship is a type of investment that emerged in recent years, and it expands very quickly without the need for big amounts of capital or large facilities.
“The keyword for success in the entrepreneurship world is the digital innovation and a business model that can expand continuously,” Dr. El-Desouky said, referring to the rapid digital transformation in the industry and businesses around the world.
He added, “The maritime sector holds promising opportunities for innovation, through utilizing new technologies and artificial intelligence. The latest trends in this sector now focus on clean fuels, reducing energy consumption, port infrastructure, automation, digitization, cybersecurity, real-time data, and team management.”
Dr. El-Desouky urged students to participate in the competition as it allows entrepreneurs to start work on the project within a year, after getting all the required support. He encouraged participants to graduate from the university while they are the owners of existing projects.