The Big Start Round 2 Begins
Technology, green initiatives and retail ideas top submissions
1 March 2012, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Al Tamimi Investments (ATI) has revealed the names of 26 students who will progress to round two in its Big Startstudent entrepreneur competition. The student entries were shortlisted from 78 submissions with technology, green initiatives and retail businesses among the most popular ideas advancing in the competition.
Now in its third season, The Big Start is the core CSR initiative of venture capitalist firm ATI. It gives UAE-based university students a chance to become the CEO of their own business and win full funding and operational support for their idea.
According to the judging panel convened by ATI, 22 entries were awarded round two placements based on the merit of their business ideas. Another four students whose satisfactory business ideas were bolstered by their entrepreneurial traits will advance as wild card entries in the competition.
For the first time this year The Big Start, normally reserved for final year undergraduate students, was expanded to include postgraduate students. However, the undergraduates outshone their academic counterparts in season three accounting for 65 percent of the entries going through to the next round.
In round two students will participate in a business plan workshop and learn to refine their ideas into viable ventures. This year The Big Start has partnered withMAKE Business Hub, the new Dubai-based café designed specifically for mobile workers, as venue host. In addition to learning how to prepare a business plan, students will hear the advice of some of the UAE’s most successful entrepreneurs before receiving one-to-one mentoring from the team at ATI.
“We’ve been really impressed with the calibre of submissions in this year’s Big Start competition,” said Rachael Wunsch, CEO, ATI. “Some of the ideas are really innovative and are potential businesses for the future, while others fill an obvious gap in the local market. However, in entrepreneurship, a good idea is only as good as the person behind it. Some students were particularly creative with their competition entries and showed us their entrepreneurial spark. While their ideas may need some refinement, we granted them a place in the competition because we believe they have the confidence, ambition and tenacity to stand a chance of winning.”
From November 2011 through to 16 February 2012, The Big Start received business idea submissions from final year undergraduate students and postgraduate students from universities across the UAE. A total of 314 students registered for the competition with 78 submitting their idea for consideration in the third Big Start competition.
The ATI panel selected the best and brightest ideas, with finalists representing 10 different universities from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. The 26 finalists, comprising 16 different nationalities, submitted a wide range of ideas from sectors as diverse as technology, the environment, retail, travel & hospitality, media, food and beverage and oil & gas.
The university with the highest number of finalists was SP Jain School of Management, followed by Middlesex University Dubai in second. Tied for equal third was the American University of Sharjah and the University of Wollongong Dubai, while Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus rounded out the top five.
Another round of judging will take place in May 2012 and will decide which students go on to present their refined business ideas to ATI Chairman Essam Al Tamimi for their chance to win their dream business. The final winner will be announced in June 2012.