HCT’s Innovation and Economic Free Zone Launches First Batch of 15 Innovative Student Projects for Commercialization
In a boost for its Graduating Companies initiative, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) launched its first batch of 15 Emirati student projects, incubated at the HCT innovation and economic free zone in HCT-Dubai Men’s campus, with the aim of the projects being transformed into internationally competitive companies.
The launch, at the UAE’s first higher educational innovation and economic free zone, was in the presence of H.E. Nasser Bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization and HCT Chancellor, and Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President & CEO, together with representatives of the various funds that play a key role in supporting youth and entrepreneurship projects. These funds included the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises, ICT Fund, and Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC).
The 15 student projects are based on the development of innovative products and services, providing hi-tech solutions serving diverse dynamic industries. Of the 15 showcased student projects, three obtained a trade license, whereas five are in the process of licensing.
H.E. Nasser Bin Thani Al Hamli, reiterated that the student projects represent HCT’s strategic priority which is closely aligned to the directives issued in in March 2019 by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, where he announced UAE universities can become innovation and economic free zones, enabling students to carry out business and creative activities as an integrated part of their higher education, in implementation of the 50-year Charter.
The Minister further expressed his pride in announcing the first positive outcomes of the HCT innovation and economic free zones, whereby the 15 projects will utilize advanced technologies and Artificial Intelligence, and will cater to the needs of diverse economic and service sectors, including healthcare, security, safety, online learning, transportation, communications, media and quality of life.
H.E. Nasser Bin Thani emphasized the HCT’s eagerness to collaborate with its strategic partners, particularly the local institutions that are supporting small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurship, in order to introduce to them the student projects incubated in the economic free zones. His Excellency confirmed that HCT will work jointly with these institutions to transform these projects into economically feasible companies that can be of benefit to society. He said the projects reinforced the efficiency and capabilities of Emiratis in generating creative internationally competitive ideas.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President & CEO, expressed his pleasure with the innovative student projects that reflect HCT’s efforts dedicated towards turning the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum into reality.
He added that under the HCT 4.0 strategic plan – Employability and Beyond, HCT students and graduates have been creating their own future opportunities, equipped with the job- relevant skills and applied research skills acquired during their studies at HCT. This has resulted in many of them establishing their own small and medium hi-tech enterprises.
He added that the implementation of capstone projects, which meet industry needs, raised students’ awareness of the labor market needs, while boosting their abilities to generate creative ideas transformable into future projects.
Dr. Al Shamsi thanked the representatives of the various institutions for their great support of HCT’s entrepreneurship and innovation-focused initiatives, with the projects being selected from HCT students’ capstone projects exhibitions, while others were independent entries for the innovation and economic free zones.
Following the presentation of the innovative projects, H.E. Nasser Bin Thani Al Hamli, spoke to the HCT student entrepreneurs, expressing his pride in their successful implementation of the UAE’s strategic vision and ability to contribute to the UAE’s economic development. He affirmed HCT’s willingness to provide full-fledged support to student projects and hi-tech companies that generate job opportunities for Emirati youth.
The Minister advised the 15 students that the support and trust of the UAE’s leadership, particularly that of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, and HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai.
The UAE youth is regarded as the country’s true wealth and they have proved that they are deserving of this great confidence, the Minister added.