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Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

  • SumoMe

Event details!

What To Bring:
  • Laptop
  • Business cards (or not, if you use Bump)
  • Something to take notes on
  • A paper ticket is not required. Your name is on a list.
  • STUDENTS – Bring your student ID
  • Lots of energy
Pitches on Thursday night will be in a “pitch-fire” format, which means you will have just 60 seconds to get the audience interested in your idea. You will have no slides or props -just your voice. You won’t have time to go over features, so just focus on the core of the idea and make your enthusiasm contagious. Here is the format for pitches that we recommend:
  • Who are you and what is your background? (5-10 Seconds)
  • Whatis the problem that your product is solving? Or, begin with a story (10-20 Seconds)
  • Explain the product and how it solves the problem (10-20 seconds)
  • Who do you need on your team (a developer, marketing, designer?) (5-10 seconds)
Finally, make up a name for your startup so the facilitator can give it a title
Voting & Forming Teams
After pitches, you will have more time to mingle. If you pitched an idea, this is your time to start recruiting others that may be interested in your idea. If you did not pitch, or if you are having trouble finding others to join your team, use this time to seek out those that pitched other ideas that you found interesting.
Next, the crowd votes on their favorite pitches.This is simply a way to encourage quick team forming. This is by no means an exclusive process and if you pitched an idea and it is not voted as one of the top ideas, you are more than welcome to work on it if you find some other people who want to work on the idea with you. From there we will form teams and these are the startup ideas that will be worked on over the weekend.
See you there!
The Startup Weekend Crew

Platinum Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Contributing Sponsors

Marwan Al Sarkal

Investment Judge   |   LinkedIn

H.E Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal- CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), CEO of Al Qasba Development Authority and a Board Member of Sharjah Tourism and Development Authority - is considered one of the key leaders in Sharjah’s growth.
A graduate holding a high diploma in accounting from Dubai Men’s College in 1999 and a bachelor degree in Applied Sciences in Business Administration, Marwan Al Sarkal initially worked for the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority in 1999 as a head of the Auditing Department. In 2003, he joined Dubai Shopping Festival and was assigned the post of Finance Manager and thereafter promoted as the Director of Finance and Administration in DSF in 2005.
Possessing a sharp understanding of the market and in-depth insight into the functioning of economies and international legalities and legislation, Al Sarkal has proven his mettle in quality, operations control and strategic planning.
Al Sarkal believes that Sharjah is a highly dynamic city, and a place where people can find democracy, peace and community engagement. For him, UAE is a country where nothing is impossible and where development has become a continuous - fast moving trend which in turn shaped his responsibility to cope with this rapid change. Al Sarkal follows a life method based on dedication and loyalty to the job and owns a clear faith that life brings a lot of challenges which can be turned into valuable opportunities through organized leadership and team spirit.

Dr. Fadi Aloul

Technology & Technical Judge   |

Dr. Fadi Aloul is currently an Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), UAE. He holds a PhD and MS degrees in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA, respectively, and a BS degree in Electrical Engineering summa cum laude from Lawrence Technological University, Michigan, USA. His research and industrial interests are in Computer & Network Security and Design Automation & Optimization. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the founder of several IT security awareness initiatives in UAE. He is a frequent security consultant and specialized in giving IT security awareness sessions to general audience, in addition to advanced IT security courses to experts. Dr. Aloul received a number of awards including the prestigious H.H. Sheikh Khalifa, UAE’s President, Award for Higher Education, the AUS Excellence in Teaching Award, the Microsoft Imagine Cup Gulf Award and the Semiconductor Research Corporation Research Fellowship. He has 90+ publications and 1 US patent. He is a regular invited speaker and panelist across a number of international conferences related to Technology, Cyber-Security and Education. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Associate of Computing Machinery (ACM). He is the founder and chair of the UAE IEEE Graduates of Last Decade (GOLD) group, an organization dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. He is also the founder of the annual “IEEE Made-In-UAE Competition” and “IEEE GCC Graduate Forum” which promote education, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Noor Al Jallaf

Business Judge

Noor Al Jallaf is a Senior Business Counselor at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development in the UAE. Noor provides counseling services at different stages of the business cycle for small-medium sized businesses that are planning to set up in the UAE. Noor is also involved in the social entrepreneurship and micro business initiatives within Khalifa Fund.
Previously, Noor was an associate at HSBC’s Equity Capital Markets Department covering deals in the MENA region. Noor used to co-lead the DUBAI+acumen chapter, a volunteer group promoting Acumen Fund and social entrepreneurship in the UAE, and has been a volunteer with them since 2009. She graduated from Bentley University, MA with a Bachelor of Science degree and a major in Finance.

Dr. Yasar Jarrar

Management & Strategy Judge   |   LinkedIn

Yasar is a Partner at Bain & Company, based in the Dubai Office. Yasar leads the Public Sector Practice.
Previously, Yasar was a Partner in PwC & led the ME Strategy Practice & the PwC Global Education Group. Yasar advised various key institutions including UAE Prime Minister Office, Saudi Ministry of Labour, UAE Ministry of Interior, UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Saudi General Investment Authority, Saudi Economic Cities Authority, Qatar Foundation, Arabian Gulf University, among others
Prior to joining PwC, Yasar was the Executive Dean of the Dubai School of Government (DSG) and a Research Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Yasar served as a Strategy Advisor at The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai for over 3 years and as a Senior Advisor on public sector modernization at the Prime Minister's Office (United Arab Emirates Federal Government. Yasar also served as the Director of Government Performance in the Prime Ministry of Jordan, and previously as the Head of Policy and Strategy in the Executive Council of the Dubai Government.
Prior to working in Dubai, Yasar worked as a Research Fellow in Cranfield School of Management & Bradford School of Management, respectively, in the UK. He is the author of numerous reports and papers on strategy and performance management, and teaches strategy, performance, and innovation in both MBA / MPA programs as well as executive programs.
Yasar’s main focus is on strategy, performance management, and Innovation.
Dr. Yasar Jarrar is also:
• Partner, Bain & Company,
• Young Global Leader. World Economic Forum (
• Visiting Fellow, Cranfield School of Management, UK
• Member, Council on the Future of Government, World Economic Forum
• Senior Advisor, Harvard International Negotiation Initiative, Harvard University
• Adjunct Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS, Singapore
• Research Fellow, Dubai School of Government

Noura Al Kaabi

Creativity Judge   |

Noura Al Kaabi joined twofour54 in October 2007 during the start-up stages of the company. In April 2012, Noura became the CEO of twofour54.
Prior to her new role, Noura held the position of head of tawasol (one-stop-shop), where she was responsible for services for companies establishing an office in Abu Dhabi. This includes functions such as property management, support services and government services. The role of tawasol is to assist partner companies and their employees settle into Abu Dhabi life with ease.
In early 2011, Noura was appointed head of human development. In this role Noura led and facilitated the implementation of capacity building, knowledge transfer and succession planning, a management initiative for driving and implementing the growth and development of professional and personal skills across the twofour54 workforce. In November 2011, Noura was appointed to the Federal National Council (FNC) of the U.A.E.
Prior to joining twofour54, Noura held positions in HR and administration at Dolphin Energy Limited, and as an IT Support Manager at the Zayed Military Hospital.
Noura is a board member of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and ImageNation. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and Tawteen, an initiative of the Emirates Foundation. Noura graduated from the UAE University with a bachelor degree in management information systems, and completed the Emerging Leadership Program from London Business School.

Abdullatif Alsayegh

Media Judge   |   LinkedIn

Abdullatif Alsayegh is one of the very few local media practitioners who combine international experience with local expertise from a cultural, social, political, economic and technological viewpoint. His stature as one of the most respected media pioneers regionally has provided the platform to launch numerous projects in the UAE. His track record has seen the launch of six local radio stations (Alarabeya, Alkhaleejia, City, Hit, Dubai Eye and Noor Dubai), three daily newspapers (Alemarat Alyoum, Albayan and Emirates Business 24/7), and one local TV station (Noor Dubai). He has also spearheaded the launch of world-famous and widely-renowned international brands in the region, such as Virgin Radio, MTV Arabeya and Nickleodeon.

Ameera Bin Karam

Feasibility & Sustainability Judge

Ameera Abdelrahim Binkaram is the Chairperson of the Sharjah Business Women Council, an initiative established by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry to encourage women's contribution to the development process of the UAE in general and Sharjah in particular.
Since her appointment in 2009, Ameera’s goal is to incorporate women and magnify the role that women play in the economies of Sharjah and the UAE. The strategy she adopted for SBWC is based on introducing women to international best practices in business planning and management, and explore new opportunities. She has launched a number of initiatives that provide a platform for businesswomen in Sharjah, including the Annual Women’s Leadership and Technology Conference. The Conference explores how the latest developments in technology can improve communal engagement and contribute to building a vibrant civil society. Another initiative is the Trendy Workshop which is a series of workshops to introduce and guide women entrepreneurs to various SMEs starting from the age of 21.
Ameera started her career as General Manager of Sharjah Ladies Club. In 1997, she joined her family business, Binkaram Group of companies, as the head of Human Resources. Her leadership skills and the successful business strategies she implemented helped her reach the position of Vice President of the group.
Ameera is very active socially, environmentally and philanthropically, and is involved in a number of national and international organizations. She is an Honorary Advisory and Founding Member of the Sharjah Tatweer Forum, as well as a founding member and the current President of the Board of Trustees of Friends of Cancer Patients Society. She has also recently been elected as member of the UAE Genes Association.
In addition, Ameera is a member of the Olave Baden-Powell Society (OB-PS) where she works towards steering the OB-PS expertise and organizational strength towards the Middle East, especially to the UAE. She is a dedicated supporter of the John Aspinall Foundation, a British charity that works to promote wildlife conservation. Ameera is also a board member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) Development Fund headed by Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. Ameera holds a Higher Diploma in Communication Technology from the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE.


Kawthar Bin Sulayem

Marketing & Communications Mentor   |

With more than nine years experience in the Marketing and Communications industry,Kawthar Bin Sulayem, has been recognised as one of the best in her field, successfully working on future sustainability projects across Governmental and private sector platforms. Five years ago, she took her success in the industry and established KBS Communications: the boutique PR and Marketing agency of which she is currently the CEO.
Kawthar was brought up in the UAE, New York and London, studying Mass Communications at New York University. This provided her with valuable knowledge of globalization and the world markets, which she brought home to the UAE to great acclaim.
Kawthar’s success with KBS Communications is clear from the significant clients it supports. She currently works with Etihad Airways – the national airline of the UAE and is also representing a candidate for the forthcoming FNC Elections in the UAE.
Kawthar’s experience in the industry is wide-ranging and stands as testament to her professionalism. She was the Media Manager in The Executive Office, Marketing and PR Manager at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Establishment for Young Business Leaders and Regional Media Manager for the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Armed with this experience, she went on to become the first National Press Officer to work alongside the FIA (International Automobile Federation) in Paris

Hamzeh Al Fuqha

Public Speaking Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Hamzeh Al Fuqha is a public speaking consultant and specialized in giving presentation strategies training and coaching sessions.
He is currently an undergrad researcher in the Civil Engineering Department at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). His research and industrial interests are in sustainable construction and sustainable management.
Hamzeh received a number of awards including the prestigious and highly competitive Chancellor’s Scholars Award of AUS and the 1st AUS Leadership Award.
He was the winner of numerous national public speaking and debating competitions including the English Language Olympiad (UAE Level), AUS Public Speaking Competition and the Wollongong Cup (UAE Level).
Hamzeh received an offer to join a leading sustainable construction company in the UAE while only in his second year at AUS. He decided to drop-out of university for a while and explore the world beyond the walls. He showed great potential and was able to close deals worth millions of dirhams and eventually was promoted to Head of Estimation and Contracting.
He is the co-founded of Badeal Media which specializes in innovative interactive digital signage solutions. Hamzeh was able to pitch and secure around 500K AED in the first round seeking capital investment.
Hamzeh was invited to speak at AUS on his unique industrial and entrepreneurial experience and on developing the next generation of potential young entrepreneurs.
Seeking to fill a gap and backed by a proven record of success, Hamzeh founded Next Presentations Inc.

Yousef Hamza

Finance & Operations Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Yousef is an associate with Envestors and has advised over 2,000 entrepreneurs, assisting in legal, strategic and local aspects and as a key liaison within the firm. Envestors is a regional Business Angel Network which has advised and raised finance for 12 start-up/growth companies for just over $15 Million, with a further $6 Million offered to four additional companies in the last 6 months alone. They have also actively advised on larger M&A deals, including the raising of finance for projects totaling over $150M.
Yousef was educated in Kuwait and the U.A.E, followed by a law degree from the University of Cardiff in the U.K. Having interned with several multinational legal firms working on a portfolio of projects, he then worked for one of the top 3 local law firms with a 40 year history in Abu Dhabi, where he helped further develop Sukuk structures, assisted companies in gaining the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award and as part of a team within the firm gave strategic advice on weathering the current financial crisis from a business development and strategy angle.
Yousef is also a mentor at Seedstartup, lectures for Universities, government conferences and is an advisor/board member to a number of startups across the region.
Prior to this, Yousef interned at a number of international law firms and worked briefly as a lawyer in Abu Dhabi before moving into the SME ecosystem.

Zuhairah Washington

Business Model Design & Marketing Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Zuhairah Scott Washington is an entrepreneur, investor, and seasoned business professional with over a decade of digital media, private equity, and product/business development experience in global markets including London, New York, and San Francisco working with Fortune 500 companies, vc-backed startups, and government and non-profit organizations.
Zuhairah is the Founder of Kahnoodle (, a startup that uses gamification to make it easier for busy couples to maintain awesome relationships. Previously, she was the Director of Business Development and reported directly to the CEO and COO of Europe’s largest local search and user-generated review website with 17M UUs in 10 countries and 7 languages. She also was a Principal at Be Media LLC, an interdisciplinary, digital media consulting practice which partnered with clients to identify, launch, and grow products and services at the intersection of social impact and market opportunity. Prior to that she was the youngest Regional Vice President at a high-growth, entrepreneurial private equity firm with $20B in AUM.
She graduated magna cum laude from UCLA and has a JD/MBA from Harvard.

Tarifa Al-Zaabi

Business Development & Innovation Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Tarifa has 13 years of managerial and educational experience in Higher education. She’s an inspiring motivational speaker with six year of experience in business development in UAE. She’s the founder of Go-Glocal Educational Consultancy and Training in 2010 and founder of Bricks Academy, soft skills development project for children 5 to 15 years She provides management and educational consultancy, motivational speaking sessions, inspiring workshops and professional training in the fields of soft skills development, business development, conference sessions, academic papers presentations, research and development. She has been certified as a trainer for critical thinking by the American International association for Trainers, a trainer for LEGO Serious Play by LEGO Denmark, a personality dimensions trainer by the Canadian Institute for Skills Development, and a chair academy for leadership development by Nebraska USA. Tarifa has given many workshops about personality dimensions, cultural sensitivity, event management, action planning, and administrative and organizational skills.

Ahmed Yehia

Branding Mentor   |

Ahmed Yehia - Managing & Creative Director of The Yellow Designs Ad. - has 12 years experience in the field of advertising, exhibitions, events, media campaigns, Branding and corporate identities.
He began his career in creative advertising back in 2000 as an exhibition stand designer at Tarek Nour Advertising- Egypt. In 2004 He moved to UAE to find a better prospect in the field. He joined one of the reputed Ad house in the country. It was during then that he realized his inner entrepreneur skills and decided to startup his own ad agency. With high levels of determination and hard work he was able to achieve his dream and named it “The Yellow Designs Ads”. And today Yellow designs is proud to be the creative and contributing sponsor for Sharjah Startup Weekend.

Fayrouz Zghoul

Mentor   |  

Fayrouz Zghoul is a cultural programs specialist and a social entrepreneur. She worked with International NGOs and youth from different parts of the world on social development projects focusing on intercultural learning and youth engagement, sustainable development, conflict management, and peace building through enterprise using art and music as tools. She traveled the world crossing the Arctic Circle to South East Asia following her passion and trying to employ her skills in cultural outreach.
She is very active on social media, loves sports, adventures and passionate about skydiving. With an attitude larger than life, she believes in human power to make positive change in this world and that is why next April she will embark on a journey to Mount Everest to raise funds for King Hussein Cancer Center.
Fayrouz holds BSc. in Agricultural Engineering, and a Diploma in Sustainable Development Policies and Economics from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha.
She is also working with her sister on developing a new social commerce application that will soon introduce a new concept to the Middle East.

Ali Alsaloom

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Ali Alsaloom is a cultural expert, one of the fastest rising media personalities and a charismatic public speaker in the Gulf Region. His internet portal became one of the most comprehensive and authentic source of information about culture and heritage for the UAE and the Gulf region. His themed “Ask Ali” shows, weekly columns in the M magazine and cultural guide books about Abu Dhabi and Dubai reach an international audience in thousands. Ali is the Environmental Ambassador of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and was honoured for his success as entrepreneur with the Khalifa Fund Business Award 2010.

Wailed Albasheer

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Walied is a fifth generation entrepreneur with starting on 1995 when he was advised by a college to check the internet. He then co-founded City Cyber Cafe in Pune, India in 1996.
In 1998 he joined the founders of which was the first listing directory in GCC starting from Oman. He then joined the founding team for a major government online initiative in UAE to promote commerce & tourism, he was also a founding member of committee to establish
In 2003 he joined of the founding team for Emirates Investment Group a group turned 8 billion dirham multi activities business. In 2004 he Founded Techoz Ltd as international business company in Seychelles to transfer knowledge to African countries.
In 2006 he co-founded Formula World Sport as the first sport marketing agency in the region, taking it to global success by acquiring the exclusive world promoter-ship for UIM F2 World Cup Powerboats championship.
In 2007 he co-found (now an Interactive Data Company) proving real time market data feed from stock exchanges.
In 2008 he joined the advisory board for Emirates Investment Group providing corporate strategy & business performance consultancy to subsidiaries such as Enshaa PJSC, Capital Club, Palazzo Versace, and Emirates Financial Tour.
In 2011 he established Tekno Consultancy JLT, Dubai a branch for a 46 year engineering consultancy with projects in USA, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and UAE Qatar.
In 2011 he founded Inbound LLC in Dubai to bring latest innovation in digital sphere to the region

Barry J. Cummings


Barry Cummings, the founder and Managing Partner of Action in Business International (ABI), first came to the region over 20 years ago. He is an experienced business and executive coach who has international clients at the Chief Officer (C-suite) level and downwards in the Banking, FMCG, Oil, Government, Military, Energy, and Technology sectors.
Barry is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and he is registered with the British Psychological Society, having almost 30 years’ experience as a licensed user of psychometric materials. He is currently completing his doctoral research dissertation (DBA) on Emiratisation in the UAE’s private sector (expected to complete in March 2013).
In addition to his work with national and international government bodies, including the United Nations (UN), this corporate exposure complements his commercial and academic experience at colleges and universities worldwide, including periods as Director (of UAE HCT, Al Ain), Dean, and Visiting Lecturer.

Ghada Zakaria

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Ghada Zakaria is the first Emarati to gain both certification - CPCC and accreditation - ACC as a professional executive coach. Soon, she will be the third in the region to gain a PCC with the renowned ICF. She is passionate about unearthing and discovering special talents, identifying strengths and directing potential to boost performance, efficiency and excellence, as well as bringing out leadership qualities and honing them to higher standards on the organizational, social and personal levels.
Capable of evoking transformation in her clients with her unique capabilities using a high-level of emotional intelligence and intuition. Constantly raising the bar for her clients in achieving their goals and objectives and ensuring they are always moving forward and aiming high. Having been well travelled, western educated and from the region gives her a wealth of experience, cultural awareness and a unique capability to bridge gaps and build bridges of common understanding.

Najla AlAnsari

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

At such a young age, Najla, a graduate from the American university of Sharjah has become the youngest Emirati Spa Founder in the region and a passionate entrepreneur from Sharjah. She is the Founder and CEO of Polished Day Spa in Sharjah that offers women in her beloved home city their very own luxurious spa destination and the first pregnancy spa destination in the Middle East. Najla is also the ambassador of Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) with a mission to empower WOMEN and is the Co-Founder of @supportwithlove, a non-profit charitable organization that supports the community with love through CSR initiates, volunteer work and fundraising events.

Scott Gillespie

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Scott Gillespie is an investor, civic entrepreneur, mentor and adviser to early stage ventures. Scott is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Jigsaw Group, an early stage investment and advisory group.
Scott is also the Commercialization Partner for T2VC which architects innovation ecosystems in emerging markets and invests in early stage ventures ( T2 projects include ecosystem development in Colombia, Palestine, Mexico, Saudi Arabia,…, investments in life science, software developers, essentials (water,….), and developing economic development solutions including a recent book, running global events Global Innovation Summit to address global challenges of innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development, to developing Rainforest Architects Program to train and support regional economic developers.
Scott has 30 years of global business experience that includes: being an angel investor (including co-founding Sydney Angels), co-founding and growing multiple ventures (4 exits), mergers/acquisitions/divestitures (Memorex Telex, Standard Register, Burroughs, Mitsui, Private Equity Groups, Unisys,..), line operations in global IT company and smart city development, and university roles (tech transfer office, setting up R&D center and lecturing).
Scott is a life learner with multiple degrees and certification: Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), MBA (marketing), Bachelors (business), Certified Financial Planner (CFP less practical) and has taught at multiple universities (engineering and business).

Nader Sabry

Mentor   |

Nader Sabry is a strategist advising, governments and multi-nationals on a wide range of strategic issues helping shape their future growth plans. He has successfully secured venture capital starting-up his own firms, helped create and build several high-growth companies. Sabry, has also, advised governments on their national strategies and policies, economic development and reform programs. He is the former head of innovation and thought-leadership at A.T. Kearney, director of strategy for the Dubai Foreign Investment Office and Chief strategist for the Dubai Economic Development Department.

Jassem AlBloushi

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Mr. AlBloushi is Executive Vice President, Head of the Retail Banking Group for Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB), a Board Member of Sharjah Islamic Financial Services and the Chairman of Sharjah Tatweer Forum.
AlBloushi has vast experience in the telecom industry as he worked with Etisalat for more than 15 years as head of call center, GSM services and a consultant for etisalat with external customers.
Mr. AlBloushi has over 20 years of experience in leadership and management, coaching, customer service and call center development.
In addition, he acts as a social entrepreneur through Sharjah Tatweer Forum which is a non-profit organization whose Honorary Chairman is His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. STF works on enabling youth and entrepreneurs, supporting viable projects for Sharjah and enhancing interaction with society.

Maha Khatib


Maha Khatib, MSc. Training & HRM, is the Co-Founder and Partner at Learnactive Management Consultancy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Maha is a Learning & Development specialist with more than 12 years of experience in the Learning and development field, she effectively assists individuals and organizations in building solid and memorable learning experiences linked to performance. Her success is based on a style focused on using modern learning and development practices such as the Active and Accelerated Learning principles. Her strength in designing out of the box solutions for long and short Learning programs helped her clients in achieving sustainable learning outcomes and high return on investment.
Maha holds a master’s degree in Training and Human Resources Management from University of Leicester-UK. She is an associate in the chartered Institute for Personal & Development (Assoc. CIPD), certified Human resources practitioner (CPP) and certified trainer and workplace assessor from the Council of Education in Australia.
As a trainer Maha designed more than 100 technical and business skills training programs, and trained more than 7000 employees from 50 different nationalities to some of the leading local and multinational organizations in the region including Emirates Airlines, Shell – LNG Oman, and Dubai International Airport, Maha is also a certified level A&B psychometric assessor from the British Psychologist Society.

Fareed Al Amiri


A people-oriented capability development and organizational excellence professional with 13 years of work experience. Fareed is an extravert, practical & results-oriented person. He has extensive experience in strategic planning/audit, organizational excellence programs (EFQM Model), career development, emiratization, business development, talent management and learning & development specifically in leadership/executive development programs.
Fareed started his career journey as an entrepreneur and then moved to worked for small and large multi-cultural organizations as well as NGO. He experienced working in startups semi government organizations undergoing major transformation. Fareed have worked comprehensively with the EFQM Excellence Model since 2007 through some local awards. His experience of the Model includes completing submission documents, assessing to EFQM Finalist standard and successfully using the Model in a consultancy capacity to support business performance improvement.
Through his career journey, Fareed gained an extensive exposure to various management systems. He acquired practical experience in project management, operation management, short/long term planning process, designing/proposing/delivering HR development/leadership programs, where he was the co-founder of the first leadership program for government of Sharjah at executive level, and co-founder of talent management program in Tawazun Holding called “Piling Program”. Fareed developed a capacity to formulate new strategies, and objectives for growth & sustainability in the University of Sharjah, Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, and Tawazun Holding, in addition to two excellence awards (Sharjah Government Excellence Award & Sharjah Economic Excellence Award).
Fareed has earned his EMBA from the University of Sharjah (Affiliated with AUB) and he holds a Bachelors of Science in Environment from UAE University. His EMBA thesis titled: ''A Framework for Developing Knowledge Management Solutions: The Case of Sharjah Government Departments in UAE''. Fareed aims to become a professional consultant in organizational Excellence, Capability Development, & Knowledge Management through pursuing his Doctorate Program (DBA) and gaining more professional certification.

Wafa Basili


With thirteen years of extensive experience in business and marketing in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry throughout the Middle East (ME), Wafa has developed a strong expertise in management of teams, businesses, processes and projects. Combining her expertise along with her passion and skills, Wafa established PROWESSE Professional Coaching Solutions in May 2011.
Prior to becoming an Executive and Team Coach, Wafa worked in progressively senior corporate positions with Nestle Middle East, starting out as a Sales Coordinator in Kuwait, then Brand Manager in the Regional Head Office in Dubai and subsequently Business Excellence Manager. In this role, she was responsible for enhancing the integration of newly joined marketing personnel as well as brand planning and monitoring and auditing the implementation of best practices.
Her extensive exposure to dynamic multinational environments and the breadth of experience she has had throughout the ME gives Wafa the skills required to work effectively with culturally diverse organizations.
Wafa is committed to results, she is spirited, creative and innovative in her thinking. Her leadership style emanates from her professional and personal experience as well as her courage to embrace challenges. Her solid corporate track record combined with her coaching experience blended with her passion for people development gives her a uniquely distinct quality in this highly competitive industry.
PROWESSE provides organizations with executive and team coaching solutions, (from comprehensive assessments through to delivery of coaching services), in alignment with a company’s strategic objectives. Services are available in English, Arabic and French.

Nafez Dakkak


Nafez is a strategy consultant with PwC’s Education Practice and considers education reform in the Middle East his main passion. Nafez believes educated youth are the solution to the Middle East's problems. He was part of the founding team of the Arab Development Initiative (ADI), a nonprofit, focused on engaging youth in the development of the Arab world. At the ADI, Nafez led the product development of the SHAREK platform, an online platform focused on the incubation of micro-development projects and crowdsourcing social innovations across the region. Nafez is also part of the team at where he blogs about entrepreneurship in the Middle East, with a specific focus on Ed-Tech. Nafez has been selected by the World Economic Forum to the Global Shapers program, an initiative dedicated to cultivating twenty somethings that embody the WEF's motto of improving the state of the world.
Nafez is a graduate of Yale College where he completed a yearlong thesis on the Obstacles towards Curriculum Reform in the Middle East, using Jordan and the UAE as case studies.

Michael J. Tolan


Michael J. Tolan started 6 different business operations before the age of 27. None of these were highly successful until, at the age of 29, after having made a small fortune developing resort real estate in the Mediterranean, he retired. His break lasted only 3 months before embarking on a new venture. In fact, over the past 25 years, Michael J. Tolan has travelled the globe as a consultant and business investor, innovating and executing business startups valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. As a serial entrepreneur he is often sought out for in events that deal with SME’s and Entrepreneurial content, due to his rich and vast experience. Mr. Tolan currently is Chief Inspirational Officer of World Class Group with offices in Malta and Lebanon, while participating as a board member of several companies, including OpenThinking FZE LLC in Dubai. He has established the World Class Academy of Excellence at OpenThinking FZE LLC with other top speakers and coaches to create new tools for business empowerment in the Mena region. Mr. Tolan is also the co--‐founder of an NGO which for the past 12 years has supported events for more than 12,000 less fortunate children from 8 countries. He is a contributing author to several business and entrepreneur publications and is currently completing research on his first book ‘Mission: I’m Possible Today!’ He is a frequent speaker at conferences and events in various countries throughout the year. As a youth adviser and leadership mastery coach, Mr. Tolan has mentored several business incubation events.

Omar Al Busaidy


A young Emirati with over 9 years of experience in corporate UAE, Omar has expanded his skills set and has grown in the sectors of banking, tourism, trade and investment. From being an advisor to business development, to diplomat relations to marketing strategies, Omar has worked in both the public and private sector in prestigious organizations such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, National Bank of Dubai, the Dubai Shopping Festival to the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Recently Omar has been invited to mentor students on entrepreneurship and leadership at several universities across Abu Dhabi and Dubai and has also worked with organizations such as AISEC, Khalifa Fund and ADCED.
Additionally, Omar has been involved with several start up businesses in the UAE and neighbouring country Oman. Omar’s passion to delivering back to the community and focus on the service industry has been instrumental in his growth and learning capacities. Omar’s input in projects has added value both financially and in partnership building that has helped him.
Al Busaidy graduated in 2009 with a B.Sc. in Marketing from the American University in Dubai.
Multilingual and adventurous, Omar’s keen eye for business proposition has spanned to his personal life where he freelanced as a radio presenter for a local radio station, and helps in organizing a number of social awareness campaigns across the UAE in his free time.
Omar has three siblings and enjoys sports, reading (particularly on business leadership and politics) and internet surfing.

Mohamed Aylan


Mohamed Aylan is a business counselor at the Khalifa Funds for Enterprise Development based in Ajman, United Arab Emirates. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from University of Dubai 2007, and an MBA from the Canadian University of Dubai 2011. He worked as a Business Incubation Projects Executive in Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), and in Counseling Services in Khalifa fund.

Moiz Sitabkhan

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Moiz is a web enthusiast, a web architect and the Digital Technical Lead at Blue Beetle, an interactive and creative Digital Media Agency in Dubai. He belives in prowess web design and development and is a keen follower and consultant to UAE based startups.
With over 6 years of experience in the web industry, he is quite a geek when it comes to the web and can let his imagination flow on idea's or concepts. Being a solutions architect, his ability to convert a concept into a workable solution makes him an ideal planner and thinker.
Moiz graduated in 2006 from The Symbiois University in India with Majors in Business Administration and Marketing. A programmer at heart, he's been hacking away on various technologies since 13 years now and now positions himeself as a mentor and a guide, helping brands and clients reach their strategy and goal.

Ali Khawaja


Ali Khawaja is an instructor at the School of Business and Management, American University of Sharjah. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Knowledge Transfer: Investigating the Industry - University model in the UAE. He earned both his MBA and BS.MIS from AUS and has been with the university since. Ali is certified from the Hunter Center of Entrepreneurship from the University of Strathclyde Business School as a Super-Coach for Entrepreneurs.
In addition to his commitment to teaching and research he is an active business and technology consultant, having worked with several companies throughout the Middle East. Ali also works with young and upcoming entrepreneurs in advising them on their business ventures. Currently he is working on bringing a long standing project to life, which will cater to entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and educators. Synergistics will bring all of these together on a common platform on a regular basis to simplify create opportunities.

Osama AlKoky


Osama AlKoky is a Software Engineer working in Dubai. He is also studying Masters in computer Science at the University of Sharjah. Osama is also the Vice Manager of Dubai GTUG (Google Technology User Group). GTUG is an initiative by Google to create a platform to gather developers who are interested in Google technologies. There more than 300 GTUG chapters around the world and Dubai GTUG is one of the most active chapters.

Dr. Khaled Miklad


Dr. Khaled Miklad is the Business development Manager at Ruwad Establishment, Sharjah’s primary SME funding agency. He is also the Business Development Manager for Future Leaders Training & Consultancy Center which aims to prepare leaders for both the government and private sectors. He is also Founding member in the Arab Union for small businesses affiliated to the Arab League
His career path includes work at the Dubai department of Economic development, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation for the Support of Business Leaders, the Ajman Chamber of Commerce & Industry as well as work at the office of the Prime Minister of Egypt and the Minister of the Public Enterprise Sector prior to his arrival in the UAE.

Nirmal Gopakumar


Nirmal Gopakumar is an Advertising and Design post graduate from Leeds University, UK. He is extremely passionate about marketing and strategic planning as well. He has experience working with various business models for his client projects.
After graduating for Leeds University he began his career as a Creative Freelancer in London and later moved to UAE to join ‘The Yellow Design Ads’ as the Account Manager. Ever since then he has proved to be a good leader and an efficient team player for the organization. He is a technology enthusiast and hence always keeps himself up to date with all the technical advances. He believes in Marketing, knowing who you talk to, what you talk and how you talk is extremely important.”

Main Organizer


Sharjah Tatweer Forum - منتدى الشارقة للتطوير   |

Sharjah Tatweer Forum (Tatweer) is a non-profit independent entity established in May of 2005 by an Emiri Decree (29-2005) by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and the Honorary Chairman of Tatweer. The Forum aims to contribute to the progress and the sustainable development of the Emirate of Sharjah through enabling young leaders, supporting the implementation of viable projects and the productive interaction with society to achieve a better future based on the cultural heritage of Sharjah.

STF is comprised of about 700 members who contribute to the overall objectives of STF through suggestions and ideas, initiatives and activities and voluntary social work. STF also provides a platform for networking and communications between a large segment of youth. Membership in STF is open to all nationalities from within or from abroad, although membership in the Board of Directors is limited to UAE nationals.

In February of 2010, a new Board of Directors was selected and confirmed by the Executive Council to serve a two-year term in office. The decree also established an Honorary Council of Founding Members that incorporates the five original founders of STF, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Reem Bin Karam

Board Member of Sharjah Tatweer Forum   |  

As an entrepreneur and an interior designer by profession, Ms. Bin Karam has had a vital role in managing Thaya Floral and gourmet Boutique. A commercial Floral and gourmet business specialized in high quality products and services. marketing strategy and public image.

A graduate of the American University in Sharjah, Ms. Bin Karam has extensive experience with the Bin Karam Group both as a Director of Purchasing and as a turnkey designer. Previously, she also worked on several design projects related the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Dubai International Airport.

My imagination, unique style and design philosophy along with the related higher education are what makes Thaya a success., As an entrepreneur and an interior designer by profession, I have a vital role which includes managing Thaya Floral and gourmet Boutique. A commercial Floral and gourmet business specialized in high quality products and services. marketing strategy and public image.

I am a local, professional and interior design enthusiast with extensive experience and achievements in that field as well as others, including but not limited to, project design and charity event planning. My career happens to be my hobby as well. I enjoy chasing innovative, creative and genuine ideas, all the while pursuing to learn more by observing what is around me from art to design to architecture.

My passion for design comes packaged with the proper education and related experience. I completed the Interior Design Undergraduate Program offered by the American University in Sharjah and immediately started building a career that spans a vast array of projects and roles. I am digitally proficient and consider the ability of merging technology with tradition as a basis for my work.

Reem Bin Karam has been an active member of Sharjah Tatweer Forum since 2006 and in February of 2010 was confirmed as a member of the new Board of Directors of STF and has since held the position of Head of Finance and Budgeting for the organization. STF is a member based non-profit organization whose Honorary Chairman is His Highnes

Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. As a think tank, STF works on enabling youth and entrepreneurs, supporting viable projects for Sharjah, enhancing interaction with society and conducting research and studies.As an entrepreneur and an interior designer by profession, Ms. Bin Karam has had a vital role in managing STF’s marketing strategy and public image. A graduate of the American University in Sharjah, Ms. Bin Karam has extensive experience with the Bin Karam Group both as a Director of Purchasing and as a turnkey designer. Previously, she also worked on several design projects related the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Dubai International Airport.

Hamed Mohammed
May Desouqi
Muhanned El Tinai
Ahmed El Tinai
Mohammed Nabtiti
Wafa AlRaeesi
Zaineb Al Amin
Muaz Mazen Taji
Tuly Hazbar


Sep 27
  • Registration & Networking
  • Welcome Remarks - Jassem Al Beloushi (Chairman, Sharjah Tatweer Forum)
  • SWShrj Explained - Keith Armstrong (Operations Manager, Startup Weekend USA)
  • An adventure across different cities - Deem Al Bassam (Entrepreneur and SW Organizer)
  • Pitching Ideas (60 seconds per participant)
  • Prayer Break
  • Attendees vote for top ideas
  • Announce top 20 ideas
  • Teams Start Forming, registering and brainstorming
  • Dinner
  • Chamber doors close for the evening


Sep 28
  • Doors Open and Breakfast
  • WORKSHOP 1: Business Models – Khalifa Fund
  • Friday Prayers
  • Lunch
  • Motivational Speaker: David Crane
  • Rehearse draft presentations with mentors
  • Dinner
  • WORKSHOP 2: Presentation Skills – Next Presentation
  • Chamber doors close for the evening


Sep 29
  • Doors Open and Breakfast
  • WORKSHOP 3: Setting Up a Business- Tamimi & Company
  • Lunch
  • WORKSHOP 4: Marketing on a Budget – Yellow Design
  • One-on-one sessions with judges
  • Judging and Awards
  • Dinner and wrap-up
Upcoming Events