Ford continues partnership with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) for the latest installment of the Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy (HFEA) workshop, with inaugural session in Abu Dhabi
- HCT Abu Dhabi Women’s Campus participants received cutting-edge training from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and insights from local entrepreneurs on steps and activities for creating and sustaining new ventures
- Abu Dhabi marks fourth emirate to host HFEA in the past year, with the workshop highlighting Ford’s drive to bring the best out of early-stage entrepreneurs
The Ford Motor Company Fund recently marked the completion of its fifth Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy (HFEA) workshop in the UAE, with the Higher Colleges of Technology’s (HCT) Abu Dhabi Women’s campus hosting the programme. The HFEA has previously launched successful workshops in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and two in Dubai, with the inaugural installment in the capital marking the fourth emirate to date.
The continued partnership between Ford and the HCT, the UAE’s largest applied higher education institution, further strengthens the Ford Motor Company Fund’s long-standing commitment to empowering the youth by providing better opportunities through education.
“The number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE has been growing at a rapid pace, and there’s been a 10 per cent growth since 2016,” said Simonetta Verdi, Director, Government and Community Relations, Ford Middle East and Africa. “In fact, SMEs comprise 95 per cent of businesses in the country, which stresses the importance of providing innovative opportunities for the next generation of business leaders in the UAE.
“A business-oriented and highly-focused approach to learning, assisted by training and opportunities generated by the Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy workshops can help participants gain important entrepreneurial skills, generate innovative ideas, and become more prepared for the future,” Verdi added.
Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President & CEO, said: “Encouraging our students to become entrepreneurs and providing them with the right mindset, skills and toolkit is a core element of the HCT 2.0 strategy. We are embedding entrepreneurship and innovation in our academic programs to enable students to hone their skills and knowledge in these fields to successfully transit from student to entrepreneur.”
“Students selected to participate in the HFEA had the opportunity to shape their thinking and learn how to build their future businesses using best international practices. HCT expects to host further HFEA workshops across its system to allow many more of our students to consider setting up their own ventures, “Dr. Al Shamsi added.
Aspiring entrepreneurs in the Middle East could be considered to be among some of the most connected thinkers in the world, with the region’s young, tech-savvy population contributing to the UAE outperforming the likes of Japan and Singapore* thanks to its high-quality entrepreneurship ecosystems. The HFEA is designed to help enhance the potential of budding entrepreneurs in the UAE.
The three-day HFEA workshop, entitled “The Entrepreneurship Journey”, has been drawn up to complement the work undertaken by the UAE government, which continues to create initiatives to empower the youth to innovate, contributing to the welfare of the wider UAE community.
Taking place at HCT’s Abu Dhabi Women’s campus, over three days (October 29-31), the HFEA saw the 32 participants compete to best demonstrate entrepreneurial capacity, during a pitch competition. The top honour went to third-year Electrical Engineering Technology student Maitha Al Hosani, who was awarded a much sought-after in-depth consultancy from a premier US-based start-up strategy firm. Al Hosani’s business idea is for a fire alarm for people with a hearing impairment or vision issues, and for heavy sleepers. The system intends to alert those in need via a strobe light, buzzers, or with an innovative vibration pillow. In addition to the consultancy prize, Al Hosani was presented with a certificate, trophy, and awarded a brand-new iPhone.
Ford, HCT and the VCU have formed an exceptional partnership to address local entrepreneurship training needs, and remain committed to arming the successful businesspeople of the future with the skills and acumen to thrive. Through business-specific education, guidance and networking opportunities, such as the HFEA, the region’s young entrepreneurs will be better equipped to handle future challenges in the business world.