Young entrepreneurs pitch inspiring business ideas across
STEM, consumerism & environmental issues at SCRF 2023
‘Great day of learning’ say students who attend the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival workshop by Joud Charafeddine
Sharjah, May 09, 2023
A select group of students from different schools enjoyed a unique opportunity at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), as they pitched original ideas to their peers and a successful entrepreneur and mentor as part of a workshop to groom future founders and changemakers of the UAE.
Joud Charafeddine, who conducted the 30-min high intensity workshop using real-life examples and activities to engage participants and encourage them to come up with their own ideas for new business, said: “It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in recent times. The sheer potential I saw here was mind boggling. We had students targeting STEM, consumerism, environmental issues, trying to address a diverse range of problems with a whole set of smart solutions. Some relied on tech, some on humanitarian actions but in the end, it was heartening to see all come up with practical entrepreneurial blueprints.”
“I am very happy to see young people think along the lines that we didn’t at their age. I’m happy I could help them break their ideas down through activities,” said Charafeddine, who took time to explain how entrepreneurship starts with a simple first step of making a problem statement that then helps the potential entrepreneur to identify solutions and target audience before eventually leading them to arriving at their business model – the blueprint to their success.
“The thing about entrepreneurship is that it’s all about mindset. It’s not the application of one single hard skill that you learn in schools because it’s something that grows with you. I am glad I was able to start my own company at their age and if they are able to see that they can be entrepreneurs too, you never know what the future is,” said the Lebanese who now runs his own company after a stint as a community engagement manager at Wamda that helps accelerate entrepreneurship ecosystems across the Middle East and North Africa region through its sector-agnostic investment vehicle.
“Wipe out pollution before it wipes you,” was the passionate plea as part of a pitch for Syrian student Bayan Muneer who made a presentation for her brand of recyclable bags called Eco Trends. “Pollution is the biggest problem today and we have ways to curb it, fight it and so my business idea is a step towards that,” she said.
“My biggest takeaway today was to be able to learn how to break my idea into small workable assets. Like making an action plan, identifying a target audience and then finalising the business model with everything involved. So, it was a great day learning for me,” said Nour Taha, Bayan’s schoolmate at National Charity School for Girls.
Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is being held at the Sharjah Expo Centre until May 14 and will see a host of programmes including workshops and panel discussions throughout the 12-day event.