The Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University Dubai has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) to collaborate on the University Entrepreneurship Program (UEP), which aims to transform universities into incubators and empower students to begin their entrepreneurial journey in parallel to their studies. The partnership aims to provide Heriot-Watt graduates with the skills and resources to be successful entrepreneurs prior to graduation. It will also provide access to the DFF start-up eco-system and the Dubai Future Academy, in addition to funding, investment, mentoring, innovation labs and accelerator facilities (via Dubai Future Accelerators).
Commenting on the memorandum, Dr Paul Hopkinson, Associate Head of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said, “We are very pleased to sign this memorandum, as it means we are aligned with the UAE government’s drive to strategically encourage entrepreneurship amongst University students today. Our students can now potentially graduate with a business idea or a functioning business as well as a world-class degree, and the University itself becomes an incubator for business. Additionally, we are taking this even further by setting up our own in-house incubation facilities at our new campus, which will be managed by Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Business School.”
The University Entrepreneurship Program creates a suitable environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, employs modern technology in various vital and future sectors, and prepares young students for the future by developing their entrepreneurial capabilities through five main stages: learning about successful experiences; identifying opportunities and areas of entrepreneurship; developing personal capabilities and talents; surveying potential business opportunities; and implementing ideas and projects.
This initiative comes as part of the UAE Government’s efforts to activate and implement the sixth article of the Fifty-Year Charter, announced earlier this year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, by creating economic and creative free zones in universities that allow students to carry out innovative businesses and creative activities as an integrated part of their higher education, by supporting them with research and funding and, ultimately, enabling universities to graduate not just students, but successful entrepreneurs.