HCT Celebrates Student Innovations at 6th Annual HCT Ibtikar Competition
Student-created innovations, aimed at boosting sustainability in various industry sectors, were showcased when the Higher Colleges of Technology’s (HCT) Sharjah Women’s campus hosted the 6th Annual HCT Ibtikar Competition, in partnership with CapiZona Ventures, the Brands For Less (BFL) Group and the Marketing Boutique.
Ibtikar is an annual business innovation competition, organized by HCT’s Faculty of Business, which enables HCT students, from all academic divisions, to leverage the knowledge learned in HCT’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship course to devise concepts and innovations which solve real-life problems.
This year’s edition saw 13 student projects, from across the HCT system, vie for the honors of the best three innovations.
The Innovation Gold award was awarded to a "Smart Power System" project, designed by HCT-Sharjah Women’s students Auhood Alzarooni, Hour Almaazmi, Shadha Alhosani and Shamma Alhousani, and supervised by Dr. Haris Khalid and Ms. Malini Nair. The project involves a user-friendly application that tracks the real-time power consumption of electricity sockets and devices, while offering tailored energy management solutions to encourage efficient and sustainable energy use in households and businesses.
Dubai Men’s students Mohammed Alajami, Hind Omran, and Mohammad Alshamsi, under the supervision of Dr. Adel Zairi, won the Innovation Silver award for their “Pink Farming” project. The project is aligned to the national agenda and the upcoming COP28 UAE, and focuses on sustainable urban farming for city residents. By merging vertical farming with “pink” farming, the project complements the UAE's Year of Sustainability, as well as sustainable development goals.
The Innovation Bronze award went to Dubai Women’s students Jamila Abdulla, Latifa Alsubousi, Waad Alrazooqi, Fatma Alfalasi, Asra Hussaini, and Laila Alfalasi, supervised by Nouralhoda AlDhanhani, for their “Breathe” project. This social club focuses on providing specialized support to women who suffer from depression during pregnancy and after childbirth. The club focuses on women's psychological well-being by offering various forms of support, including individual counseling, group awareness sessions, yoga classes and other resources.
The competition’s judging panel was comprised of HCT alumnus Dr. Adil Alzarooni, CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments and CapiZona Ventures, Mr. Toufic Kreidieh, Founding Partner and CEO of Brands for Less/BFL Group, and Ms. Nancy Assaad, Founder & CEO of The Marketing Boutique and YAL Member.
The judging panel encouraged the contestants to be curious, embrace change in today’s fast-paced tech world, don’t confine themselves in silos and develop core skills, including critical thinking, entrepreneurial and communication skills. The judges assessed the projects based on multiple criteria, including the idea's nature, feasibility study, marketing, prices, expected profits, and more, underscoring the high level of competition among students.
Ibtikar 2023 supervisor, Dr. Haya Al Shawwa, Assistant Professor of Business, said the annual competition is vital for students due to the expansion of HCT's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, as demonstrated by the HCT InnCuVation Spaces. “These spaces serve as an incubator and a supportive environment for students' creative projects and ideas, with the aim of transforming them into successful startups,” Dr. Al Shawwa said.
She added that the finalist projects were chosen as the best from HCT's 16 campuses and were the outcome of the students' diligence in the Innovation course. “Students learn multiple skills linked to developing and promoting ideas that encourage their interest in entrepreneurship. This competition is a testament to the students' abilities to innovate and develop solutions and showcases the advancement and growth of their skills in this field,” she said.
The competition winners will now have the opportunity to join the HCT Startup Development Program, hosted in the HCT InnCuVation Space, where they will benefit from boot camps, personalized mentorship, complimentary work spaces and access to specialized equipment.