Hamdan launches Young Entrepreneur Competition

By Angel Chan

DUBAI 14 December 2017: Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, yesterday launched the 12th cycle of the Young Entrepreneur Competition (YEC) on Souq.com.

Participation in YEC is open to all nationalities residing in UAE. The 12-25 age group will be eligible to compete. Each participating project is entitled to a maximum of four members. The team leader will register the project in the competition app. Those aged from 5-11 can participate in the exhibition which will be held later to showcase their projects.

Recent studies indicate that the value of the UAE e-commerce sector is expected to reach US$10 billion (Dh36.7 billion) by 2018, and hence, retailers in the region are consolidating their presence online to maintain competitiveness and profitability.

Currently, e-commerce in the UAE is valued at $2.5 billion (Dh9.2 billion) and analysts say that regionally the e-commerce market is witnessing fast growth and significant innovations.

YEC has had a significant impact of potential entrepreneurs since its launch in 2005, attracting more than 4,000 projects, and 11,000 participants.

Sheikh Hamdan said that the UAE was one of the first countries in the region to take an interest in e-commerce as it started preparing a technical and legislative framework as well as infrastructure to facilitate and support e-commerce long ago.

He added that the focus on e-commerce was an extension of the UAE’s heritage as an advanced centre for trade and business and an important link in global trade lines, as well as part of the efforts to keep pace with the digital transition and create a smart environment that is among the best in the world, like the diverse industry sectors in the emirate

Sheikh Hamdan pointed out that trade is an important part of the UAE’s social and cultural heritage, adding that trade is also an opportunity for the young to enter the business world, launch their own projects, benefit from the supportive environment in the UAE and become successful instead of waiting for government jobs.

He emphasised the importance of introducing the young from an early age to the benefits of trade and the new tools of e-commerce. It will have an impact on their education and inspire them to take advantage of the optimistic projections on the growth of e-commerce globally.

Sheikh Hamdan said: “Educating young people about e-commerce, its tools and strategies for success, is important to developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. We are pleased to see such initiatives, which contribute to stimulating a positive spirit of competition and encourage the young to be innovative, thereby grooming entrepreneurs capable of enhancing the SME contribution to economic development. The UAE will always be a role model for development, motivating young people, and preparing and assisting them to benefit from such development.”

According to Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector and organiser of YEC, the competition has moved from traditional selling to being digital and smart, in light of the growth witnessed in selling online over the past few years. The UAE is ranked high in terms of the volume of e-commerce.

YEC is now aligned to the smart services vision and directives of the leadership and takes into account the effectiveness of e-commerce in enabling younger generations of diverse nationalities to promote and sell their products online, which is a new concept the competition seeks to disseminate.

The e-commerce sector in the UAE in general, and in Dubai in particular, is characterised by its steady growth and comprehensiveness, particularly in the retail sector. E-commerce sites also attract large numbers of visitors and expatriates from outside the country, thus enhancing the added value provided by the online YEC platform in its 12th cycle.

The 12th YEC collaborating with Souq.com will give the opportunity to all the youth from different give youth of all nationalities in the UAE to showcase and sell their products through an interactive online platform. Participants will gain experience in the e-commerce process and benefit from Souq.com displaying their products on its online store. It will allow YEC participants to reach out to the largest number of targeted customers and Souq.com will also provide logistics support for the sales of participating projects.

YEC will have two phases of registration, spread over 14 December 2017 to 30 January 2018. After registration, the participants will be invited to courses and seminars on joining Souq.com. Participants will also have the opportunity to see the volume of their daily sales, quantities available, quantities sold and returns, as well as customer feedback.

Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, said: “The Young Entrepreneur Competition reflects Dubai SME’s commitment to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to sow the seeds of entrepreneurship at an early age. We are confident that the new experience will be a success, as Souq.com is the largest e-commerce portal in the Arab world and the Middle East, attracting more than 23 million visitors a month and offering convenient and secure shopping as well as various payment channels. The multiplicity and diversity of the customer base enhances opportunities for participants to sell their products to the widest possible range of customers.”

Al Qamzi added: “Dubai SME is keen to develop entrepreneurial spirit among the new generations, enhance their self-confidence and determination as well as provide opportunities for students to gain experience in the e-commerce platform of Souq.com where they can communicate directly with their online customers.”

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, commented: “Dubai SME launched YEC to promote young talent, support them to be successful entrepreneurs, and develop their projects to be globally competent as well as part of the SME sector, which is a key supporter of economic development in Dubai. Participants in the competition will be given the opportunity to market their projects through an exhibition to be held in March 2018 where they will be introduced to a competitive and stimulating business environment.”