Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), in the presence of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sheraa, has launched Access Sharjah Challenge 2023 (ASC), offering entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to implement their innovative sustainability solutions in Sharjah.
Announcing the competition, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Essa AbdulRahman Al Hashemi, Assistant Undersecretary for Sustainable Communities Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa Khaled Al Huraimel,Group CEO of BEEAH Group, and Yousif Al-Mutawa, CEO of Sharjah Sustainable City, during the Sharjah Investment Forum (SIF 2023) on February 8.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi commended the exemplary efforts made by aspiring entrepreneurs in Sharjah to adapt to the dynamic market conditions with more sustainable solutions. “Businesses today are facing intricate challenges that need new voices to diversify and transition according to the ever-changing economic landscapes. We need to nurture innovations and technologies that boost the collective spirit of our nation and achieve our long-term vision for sustainable socioeconomic development.”
The challenge, endorsed by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE), has its focus on sustainability as the core pillar with the aim of helping startups scale heights by connecting to corporate and government partners and providing more market accessibility.
H.E. Eng. Essa Abdulrahman Al Hashmi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Green Development & Climate Change Sector at MOCCAE, indicated on this occasion that the constant attention and support given by the wise leadership to environmental action contributed to the UAE’s attainment of a prominent position on the global environmental action map, attracting increasing investments to resolve environmental issues and ensure a sustainable future.
His Excellency added: “The launch of the “We Are the Emirates 2031” vision represents a new step towards completing the development process of the UAE for the next decade, and highlighting its pioneering model and global position. Therefore, we are keen to strengthen cooperation with all parties concerned with environmental and municipal work at the country’s level to ensure the achievement of the vision’s goals in terms of the global environment indicators.”
His Excellency pointed out that the opportunities for cooperation are to develop a framework for cooperation in launching joint initiatives at the local, national and regional levels, to motivate entrepreneurs to find environmental solutions in a way that contributes to enhancing environmental and economic sustainability.
Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said: “Access Sharjah Challenge is Sheraa’s commitment to further growing the connected entrepreneurship ecosystem in Sharjah. , By offering a platform for creative ideas, Sheraa is keen to promote sustainable solutions, reinforcing Sharjah’s position as a leading authority in green businesses. We thank our partners for their crucial role in shaping the future of this innovative industry, and we are confident that the finalists will make a significant impact in the sustainability sector.”
The 2023 Access Sharjah Challenge consists of two challenge statements. The first challenge statement, under the partnership with Sharjah Sustainable City, is titled “Achieving Net Zero”, which calls for solutions that enable cities to achieve “Net Zero” by implementing innovative solutions that address the environmental impact of urban living, empowering residents to reduce their carbon footprint through sustainable consumption and behavioral change.
Yousif Al-Mutawa, CEO of Sharjah Sustainable City, said: “We are excited to collaborate with Sheraa for the ASC. With a focus on sustainability for 2023, this exciting initiative aligns perfectly with our commitment to supporting start-ups and innovators, particularly young people and women, and highlighting their innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges we face today. The ultimate goal is to cultivate a culture of sustainopreneurship in Sharjah and support UAE’s efforts to foster innovation and sustainability for a prosperous future.
The second challenge statement, under the partnership with Beeah Group, is titled “Transforming Waste Management”, which calls for solutions that create a waste-free environment for cities, supporting effective on-site waste treatment and segregation, and empowering communities to effectively manage waste while providing a smooth and effortless experience.
Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group, said: “As an organisation pioneering sustainability, BEEAH Group is proud to support this edition of the ASC in partnership with Sheraa, our long-standing partner that is making positive impact in the UAE’s entrepreneurial landscape. Innovation is a focus for BEEAH Group and we believe this is key to achieving a sustainable future. Through this initiative, we look forward to discovering, supporting, and mentoring innovative and forward-thinking start-ups to stimulate economic growth in Sharjah while being environmentally responsible. As the UAE prepares to host COP28 this year, we believe conscious entrepreneurs can act as change agents and support us in addressing challenges, mobilising new resources, and inspiring greater contributions to the national agenda for sustainable development.”
Winners of ASC 2023 will have a chance to participate in UAE’s Year of Sustainability, leading up to the 28th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28). They will also enjoy a range of other benefits — business solutions in partnership with public and private sector entities in Sharjah, business setup support via Sheraa’s partners, mentorship from in-house team and community of mentors, connections to key stakeholders and potential clients, as well as enhanced media coverage.
To apply, startups must have a viable solution and a prototype ready to be deployed, as well as a commitment to establish and operate within Sheraa partnership jurisdictions. The top 20 shortlisted ideas will receive intensive pitch-training and concept design monitoring by business experts before the finalists are selected by an independent judging panel.
Applications are now open on sheraa.ae