Khalifa Innovation Center, KIC, a collaboration initiative by Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Tawazun, Mubadala Investment Company, and Sandooq Al Watan, announced a total of 24 participants representing 8 startups joined its Virtual Innovation-Based Entrepreneurship Bootcamp that aims at develop technical innovation in these startups and put it into commercial context for further discussions towards potential funding.
All the participating projects have sound technologies but they face ‘startup’ challenges. Just as any startup, they require either funding, or a complete team, or a partner who can provide co-development project support, which are offered by KIC, an innovative incubation center based at Khalifa University premises. The eight startups validated their entrepreneurship concepts during the five-day ‘Lab-to-Market’ bootcamp.
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “The intense participation and the technologies that were showcased at KIC’s Lab-to-Market bootcamp illustrate the extent of youth involvement in launching science and engineering startups. These transformative ideas also reflect their awareness of the latest technology trends and their enthusiasm for bringing into existence promising concepts with potential commercial applications, in line with the Innovation Strategy of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. We believe the startups chosen for further discussions would lead to the fruition of those young entrepreneurs’ dream projects with KIC’s support infrastructure and encouragement.”
Mouza Obaid Al Nasri, Acting CEO, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, said: “Since its inception, Khalifa Fund – one of the founding partners of the Khalifa Innovation Centre – has heavily contributed towards spreading the spirit of entrepreneurship and encouraging innovation in the market, with a particular emphasis on the ever-thriving technology sector.
“We’re delighted to example this through the ‘From the Lab to the Market’ training program, which aims to enhance the capabilities and skillset of entrepreneurs and contribute to the further establishment of a strong and favourable business environment for the development and growth of emerging projects in the tech industry, as well as all other innovative sectors. We are fully prepared to continue to offer our expertise beyond From the Lab to the Market program, by providing counselling and training for entrepreneurs in the Khalifa Innovation Centre on a frequent basis.”
She concluded: “The ideas and participating projects reflect a tangible development in the quality and distinctiveness of advanced projects, both in terms of their economic viability and in terms of applicability of their impact in enhancing the business environment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”
The bootcamp, organized at the KIC premises, was led by Dr Sami Bashir, Director, Technology Management and Innovation Office, Khalifa University, and Nouf Naser Al Jaafari, as well as KIC’s Mohamed Al Hashmi and Tariq Ahmed Syed. An elite panel of experts and judges who joined the final pitch sessions included Ahmed Fikri, Acting Director-General, Sandooq Al Watan, Elodie Guillerm from Gotham (Hub 71 Accelerator), Salim Bin Shabib, Chairman, Innovative Committee, Department of Economic Development-Abu Dhabi, Johan Maree from Mohamed Bin Rashid Space Center, and Qussay Abdul Wahab, Manager, from the Innovation Unit at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.
The 24 participants, representing eight science/engineering startup projects in the fields of electronics, communication, energy, healthcare, water and robotics, pitched their concepts before the panelists, who provided them with additional insight on how to translate their ideas into successful products.
In addition to external participants with science/engineering ideas, eight Khalifa University researchers, five faculty members and an alumnus joined the bootcamp, which aimed to develop science or engineering transformative ideas into successful startups. The event provided participants with insight and tools to help translate their ideas into successful products, using a defined commercialization roadmap.
The five-day KIC Virtual Innovation-Based Entrepreneurship Bootcamp helped participants to understand innovation aspects associated with the idea, validate the technology through execution of successful proof-of-concept and prototype projects, establish effective business models, develop robust financial framework, and be ready to pitch the technology to potential investors.
Each day of the bootcamp was focused on one key area, with the first day highlighting ‘Mindset Change and Ideas Evaluation and Scoping’, which helped participants to state clearly the problem and the solution that their technology can provide. The second day introduced aspects of ‘Intellectual Property and Market Landscape’ to help participants identify the knowhow resources, potential stakeholders and customers, as well as competitors related to their technologies.
In the following days participants engaged in hands-on exercises to develop efficient ways to identify novel attributes related to their technologies, effective ways to build prototypes and proof-of-concepts to validate their technology, and establish more engaging and realistic business models. The concluding day on ‘Let Us Think Startup’ saw teams working together in finalizing a clear identity of the startup and preparing a brief presentation.