Two Masdar Institute UAE National Students Win Akoun Business Ideas Competition 2013
Judges Panel Selects Virtual Supermarket Concept ‘E-Bakalah’ and ‘Beauty Touch 3D Paint Center’ Project
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 22 October, 2013 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced two UAE national students – Saeed Al Menhali and Mohamed Al Musharrekh – are among the five winners of the Akoun Business Ideas Competition 2013 organized by Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED).
Al Menhali, a Master’s student in the Engineering Systems Management program, has won the award for his ‘E-Bakalah’ concept, an electronic grocery that aims to fulfill the needs of busy residents in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Mohamed Al Musharrekh, a Master’s student in the Mechanical Engineering program and a member of the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program, has won the award for his ‘Beauty touch 3D paint center’ project.
The two Masdar Institute students’ proposals were selected from over 100 entries. Akoun awards the best business proposals with funding to help students on their way to start-up their businesses successfully. An entrepreneurship awareness campaign, Akoun is designed to inspire and empower the youth of the UAE to enter the private sector by setting up their own small/medium businesses.
Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The Akoun award for Saeed Al Menhali and Mohamed Al Musharrekh illustrate the outstanding entrepreneurial spirit of our students. With the support of the country’s leadership, we contribute to developing new entrepreneurs while supporting Abu Dhabi’s human capital development in clean energy. We congratulate our students for being among the top five winners and hope other youth in the UAE will emulate these successful examples.”
E-Bakalah is a virtual supermarket that will provide the same services as any other supermarket for day-to-day consumables. It allows the customer to order products online or through a mobile application. Buyers will be able to see and select the products they want on any smart phone and order them to be delivered at a specific time, even on a daily basis.
Al Menhali said: “My target market is the busy professionals and people with special needs who prefer online services with products delivered on time. Our advantage over main groceries is guaranteed delivery without having to worry about availability of the products. In addition, orders can be placed even from smartphones while on the go. Moreover, I plan to reach my customers through digital tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Brochures will also be distributed across the emirate of Abu Dhabi and as business picks up we hope word-of-mouth will help us further expand our services.”
Al Musharrekh’s ‘Beauty touch 3D paint center’ project offers services to draw 3D paints, which is professionally known as ‘3D street painting’. The center will have two functions – to provide 3D painting as a profitable service and to offer training sessions through workshops for those interested in learning this type of work. The project is also environment-friendly as natural paint tools that contain fewer chemicals are used.
Al Musharrekh said: “Sustainability is part of my vision and I am planning to use highly-efficient LED lights running on solar power with batteries to increase the aesthetic beauty of the drawing after the sunset. The project is a great opportunity for me to implement what I have learnt in Masdar Institute on sustainability in real life, and also to use the skills I gained from being a member of the YFEL program to become a future entrepreneur. I would also like to thank Masdar Institute for hosting the workshop and Dr. Bruce Walker for encouraging students to participate in this type of competitions.”
Al Menhali’s business proposal predicts a break-even period of two years, despite an expected initial risk averseness and fear of embracing an unknown concept. The business plan includes measures to ensure quality of service in addition to offering discounts to entice customers and improving delivery schedules.
An Electrical and Computer Engineer, Al Menhali previously worked with the IT department at Abu Dhabi Police and then with Abu Dhabi Municipality as the Chief Analyst – Strategy and Performance.
Mohamed Al Musharrekh is currently doing research in two major topics – increasing the efficiency and reducing the thermal emissions from vehicles. The project basically is to study the thermal generated under the hood of the car where the engine is installed and how to get benefit from it using a simulation program called computational fluid dynamic (CFD) , and to improve the vehicle dynamic especially for the 4X4 vehicles to improve the stability on the off-road.
Masdar Institute actively supports the translation of technology research into innovative commercial products, services and processes. Course offerings in technology management, entrepreneurship, product design and project management provide a strong academic foundation for youth in the UAE interested in technology start-ups. The UAE Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, co-sponsored with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in April, explored how the ‘innovation ecosystem’ can help to accelerate the rate of innovation. Earlier this year the Institute announced plans to launch a new center for innovation and entrepreneurship to help expand its initiatives in these areas.
Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.
Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.