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H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Witnesses Launch of UAE’s First University Innovative Free Zone

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, inaugurated the “HCT InncuVation Space” at the HCT-Dubai campuses, a high-tech innovation and entrepreneurial incubator, on March 6, 2019, which follows the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved HCT becoming an economic zone with funds of AED100 Million, which will be used to support the nurturing and graduation of entrepreneurs in line with the Article 6 of the Dubai 50-Year Charter, which provides that universities should be transformed into innovative economic free zones to give students the ability to undertake innovative and economic activities.

During the inauguration, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed affirmed the importance of the UAE youth as a national resource, who are encouraged to build a better future for themselves. He noted this approach is dependent on education as a national priority.

H. Sheikh Abdullah praised HCT’s strong responsiveness to the leadership’s directives, which saw HCT open the first Innovative Free Zone among universities in the UAE. The launch of the Free Zone is a massive forward shift as part of the HCT’s transformative journey. His Highness also praised the innovative design and approach of the Space and its comprehensive approach to the incubation of ideas and the forging of partnerships with public and private sectors, as well as local and international partnerships.

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah was very pleased to meet with HCT students who shared their experiences, ideas and exhibitions, and in doing so he praised the students’ projects and talents, which reflected their high level of skills and education.

During the campus visit His Highness Sheikh Abdullah accompanied by His Excellency Nasser Thani Juma AlHamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director-General of Smart Dubai Office and HCT Board of Trustees member, H.E. Abdu Rahman Al Awar, Director of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources and Vice-President of the HCT Board of Trustees, and Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President and CEO.

HCT students provided an explanation of the HCT InncuVation Space to HH Sheikh Abdullah, which is designed to motivate students for applied work, and innovative and entrepreneurial projects. The HCT InncuVation Space consists of the following five specific zones:

1.       Media & Design Zone
2.       Fabrication & Maker Space Zone
3.       Programming & Robotics Zone
4.       Business & Entrepreneurship Zone
5.       General Purpose Computing Zone

HH Sheikh Abdullah met with representatives of companies at the InncuVation Space, which partner with HCT and which will work with provide HCT students with future skills to prepare them for the labor market. Those entities were:

  • Oracle
  • SAAB
  •  Huawei
  • Microstrategy
  • Stallion AI
  • CERT & CERT Telematics
  •  AI Academy
  • Mercedes Benz Consulting
  •  Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center
  • EON Reality
  • HERE Technologies

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah was given a presentation by Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President and CEO, about the new HCT 4.0 strategy, which is aligned to the directives from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum relating to the 4th Industrial Revolution. The HCT 4.0 strategy builds on the HCT 2.0 strategy, which focused on the employment of students, and will now create opportunities for knowledge investment and innovation in order to support the national economy. The new strategy will have three pillars of Technical Leadership, Education opportunities for all, and graduations producing entrepreneurs. The strategy will provide specialized and innovative leaders and entrepreneurs.

In a full schedule, Sheikh Abdullah was also given a presentation about the SHOREK initiative, where students discussed their campus and academic lives, as well as about entrepreneurship opportunities, volunteering work, social media use and how to invest in 4th Industrial Revolution tools in the areas of government and student services. On a more cultural side, students were able to showcase their artistic talents to HH Sheikh Abdullah, with musical and singing performances, arts, calligraphy, photography and drawing.

Another feature of the day was HH Sheikh Abdullah’s participation in the 6th edition of the LEQA (Learning from Entrepreneurs through Questions & Answers), where he answered a series of questions from a panel of HCT students. His Highness shared with the audience lessons on loyalty to the UAE, as well as advancement through hard work to ensure the country’s growth. The capacity audience were also treated to a number of inspirational success stories from Sheikh Abdullah. Following this, Sheikh Abdullah happily participated in a group photo with the 120 male and female students of the first graduating cohort of the HCT’s Technical Studies Program. The graduates are now qualified for employment in the labor market in the fields of Human Resources and IT.

HH Sheikh Abdullah also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between HCT and the H.E. Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, which will see the establishment of a business incubator in the InncuVation Space, which will facilitate students to be entrepreneurs in the future.

His Excellency Nasser Thani Juma AlHamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization and HCT Chancellor, said: “His Highness Sheikh Abdullah’s visit affirms his Highness’s keenness to know more about the developments of HCT’s strategic plan, as well as keeping updated with HCT, especially following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which will transfer the HCT campuses into economic zones.”

“The visit added value for HCT because of His Highness’s continuous directives which highlight the importance of education, finding solutions and economic development so as to keep abreast with the labor market needs. These support the preparation of the national human resources to need the challenges of the future,” His Excellency said.

His Excellency added that with the launch of the HCT InncuVation Space, HCT will aim to enhance its partnerships with the public and private sectors so as to invest in UAE youth and facilitate them to be more creative and innovative. “Ultimately HCT colleges will adopt these students’ innovative ideas, as young entrepreneurs are able to drive a more sustainable economy of the UAE,” he said.

His Excellency Nasser Thani Juma AlHamli praised the efforts of HH Sheikh Abdullah and all authorities, and public and private sectors, for their contributions to helping develop the leaders of tomorrow. He also praised and thanked HH Sheikh Abdullah for his continuous support of higher education institutions, which in turn enhances their performances and fulfilment of the national mission.

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