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Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development promotes entrepreneurship amongst young UAE nationals.

(ADCED) launches second phase of Akoun

* Second phase to take on a more focused and practical approach

* 10 universities to participate -- a potential reach of 1,000 students

* Workshop programme to feature prominent UAE national entrepreneurs

* Competition to be launched to find and support new entrepreneurial talents

* Campaign partners include Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Western Region Development Council and twofour54

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) has announced the launch of the second phase of Akoun, an ambitious campaign to nurture and develop the culture of entrepreneurship amongst young UAE Nationals in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

First launched in partnership with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Western Region Development Council and twofour54 in November 2009, Akoun is an awareness program designed to inspire young UAE Nationals to embrace the path towards entrepreneurship. By equipping them with the right attitude and skills, the initiative aims to encourage young people to use their passion as a springboard, and their ambition as fuel to launch a successful business of their own.

Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Director General of ADCED said: "nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth population is key to energizing the economy of Abu Dhabi. In support of the emirate's Economic Vision 2030 that aims for sustainable growth on a solid economic basis, Akoun aspires to infuse an entrepreneurial mindset among young UAE Nationals so that they can contribute to the economy of Abu Dhabi in creating new, innovative Emirati products and services."

Workshop programme

Building on the success of Akoun's first year programme that saw ADCED conduct 11 workshops attended by over 1300 students, the Akoun team will conduct a second series of workshops at key universities across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Phase two will take on a more focused and practical approach whereby smaller groups of students will be given a step by step guide to putting a business plan together. Participants will be able to walk away from each session with a completed document that could be used to apply for financing through Khalifa Fund or other financial institutions.

UAE National entrepreneurs will also support by sharing their own experiences of setting up a business to inspire and encourage attendees into turning their ideas into reality. Some of the previous workshop presenters include jewelry designer Azza Al Qubaisi, renowned UAE cultural ambassador and creator of the "Ask Ali" brand, Ali Al Saloom and Qais Sedki, the founder of Page Flip Publishing and winner of Sheikh Zayed Book Award for "Children's Literature".

"Interacting with the young minds of students through participation in the Akoun campaign has been a delight. It was reassuring to see the spark of entrepreneurship take hold in many of the students' eyes as ADCED focuses on the exciting opportunities and thrill of overcoming personal challenges inherent in entrepreneurship," said Sedki.

"An optimist sees an opportunity in every single challenge; a pessimist sees a challenge in every single opportunity. I participate in Akoun, because I want to inspire our youth to be optimistic and build up a solid base of private small and medium enterprises, that are the backbone of each and every economy," said Alsaloom, Founder of Maestro Commercial Enterprises who was awarded the Khalifa Fund Business Award by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2010.

In addition, agencies partnering with ADCED such as Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Western Region Development Council and twofour54 will offer their insight into services they provide such as financing and the other support available to students. Universities participating this year include Khalifa University, Higher Colleges of Technology (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Madinat Zayed and Ruwais campuses), Zayed University (Abu Dhabi campus), Abu Dhabi University, Al Hosn University and the United Arab Emirates University.

Akoun competition

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the hugely successful Akoun Competition which seeks to find and support new entrepreneurial talent. For the second year running, students will be invited to submit a business proposal which will then be judged and evaluated by a panel of representatives from Akoun's partners. Three winners will be chosen from Abu Dhabi city; Al Ain and Al Gharbia and will receive the following:

* 1st prize: AED 50,000

* 2nd prize: AED 30,000

* 3rd prize: AED 20,000

Further support (financial and non-financial) will also be provided to those who meet the criteria set by Khalifa Fund, whilst all competition applicants will receive detailed feedback and recommendations on their submission. The closing date for the competition is April 30th, 2011, and the winners will be announced at the Akoun Awards 2011 ceremony to be held on May 24th, 2011.

"Last year's Akoun awareness campaign proved to be incredibly popular and inspired many young UAE Nationals to follow their dreams. Thanks to the continued support of our partners, the personal involvement of this year's entrepreneurs and of course the ADCED Akoun team, we believe that Akoun will again play a guiding role in inspiring a new generation of local business leaders," added Mr. Al Raqbani.

Additional information on Akoun, the workshops and Akoun competition can be found on the dedicated website,

About Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development:The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) was established by Law No. 9 in May 2006. Acting as an economic policy advisory council, ADCED was established to facilitate economic diversification and growth through creating greater understanding, cooperation and engagement between the public and private sectors of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development's Board of Directors is comprised of 16 members and includes representatives from the public sector, the private sector, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), and the Businessmen Councils. Since July 2010, ADCED's new board is chaired by HE Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development (DED), Chairman of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp). The Vice Chairman of the Board is HE Faraj Bin Hmouda Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Bin Hamoodah Group.

About Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development:Khalifa Fund was launched on 3 June 2007 to help develop local enterprises, with the aim of creating a new generation of Emirati entrepreneurs by instilling and deepening the culture of investment amongst young people, as well as supporting and developing small to medium-sized investments in the Emirate.

Khalifa Fund provides integrated and comprehensive programmes to meet the needs and requirements of investors seeking to establish or expand investments. Through efforts to create a favourable investment environment and strengthen the capacity of potential investors, the Fund began to develop a system of support services for entrepreneurs, including training, development and data and consulting services, in addition to a number of marketing-focused initiatives.

About Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry:The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry is seeking to reposition itself as an important policy advocate in Abu Dhabi and the leading business membership organization in the region. As the established voice of business in Abu Dhabi and a winner of multiple Excellence Awards, the Abu Dhabi Chamber is highly regarded for advising business and policy makers.

The Abu Dhabi Chamber provides a one-stop-shop service for businesses that need to grow by providing specialist market information, research and feasibility studies and help to connect local and foreign businesses via its network. As a major partner in the economic development plan of Abu Dhabi, the Chamber can help businesses understand the impact of new legislation and policies and communicate feedback through its equally unique relationship with the government. For more than 40 years, Abu Dhabi Chamber has managed to acquire a range of original business information that is unmatched by any other business organization within the region. The provision of business intelligence and linking businesses with national and international opportunities are the pillars for Abu Dhabi Chamber's services, hence Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a network everyone wants to be part of. The Chamber also contributes to the development of entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi through various programmes that provide, business counseling, and training, among others.

About Western Region Development Council:Western Region Development Council (WRDC) is the entity responsible for facilitating development and promoting the region to attract investment to enable economic growth and raise the standards of living for Al Gharbia's residents. WRDC acts as a partner and guide to developers, businesses and investors interested in Al Gharbia -- to ensure a fast and efficient approval process for their plans and project proposals.

About twofour54:The core focus of twofour54 is to 'enable the development of world class Arabic media and entertainment content, by Arabs for Arabs, and to position Abu Dhabi as a regional centre of excellence in content creation across all media platforms. twofour54 provides financing and support for businesses and individuals targeting the Arab media and entertainment industry through its ibtikar programme.

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Publication:SMB Advisor Middle East
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Mar 9, 2011
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