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Sheraa Launches Multidisciplinary ‘Centers of Excellence' to Support Entrepreneurial Growth and Innovation in the Region

News March 31, 2024

With the aim to stimulate and promote multifaceted economic development in the region, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) has launched their Centers of Excellence (CoEs) to redefine the landscape of entrepreneurial growth and innovation across the key, future-focused sectors of Manufacturing, Edtech, Creative Industries, and Sustainability.

Through a strategic vision, the CoEs will empower startups to spearhead development and growth in the four key sectors through strategic partnerships. Providing market access facilitation and impactful assessments, the initiative aims to revolutionize the support system for startups and catalyze a dynamic and forward-thinking entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sharjah.

Expressing commitment to the entrepreneurial ecosystem
Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, declared the launch of the Centers of Excellence as a testament to Sheraa’s resolute commitment to driving impactful transformation, stating “In line with the visionary goals of the UAE and Sharjah, our aim is to embed sustainability as a fundamental pillar in the entrepreneurial domain, serving as a dynamic force propelling national economies. The CoEs aim to be a potent catalyst empowering founders, nurturing innovation, and providing the resources needed to turn visions into reality.

Strategic partnerships with essential stakeholders
Sheraa has forged strategic partnerships with essential stakeholders to bolster the CoEs, encompassing collaborations with the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest In Sharjah), the American University of Sharjah (AUS), and the University of Sharjah (UoS) as overarching partners across all four centers.

Each center is aligned with key partners to maximize their impact. The Manufacturing CoE is championed by the Ministry of Industries and Advanced Technology, and has on boarded the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Emirates Development Bank (EDB) to support the startups with market access and financing. The Creative Industries CoE is championed by the Ministry of Culture. The EdTech CoE partners with the Sharjah Private Education Authority and the Sustainability center is championed by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, as well as BEEAH Group and Sharjah Sustainable City.

Creating impact through four sectors and three verticals
The CoE’s scope includes nurturing startups in manufacturing, aiming for technological advancements and increased efficiency; in Edtech, focusing on educational transformation and digital learning solutions; the Creative Industries, encouraging artistic and digital media ventures and Sustainability to further solidify the UAE’s commitment to combating climate change. The CoEs will leverage industry-specific experts to serve as mentors and advisors to founders as well as collaborating with corporate entities to support these startups through incubating solutions, implementing strategies, and offering paid contracts. This approach will empower founders to effectively address challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

Within each sector, three strategic verticals have been tailored to address specific needs and milestones. The Incubate vertical will engage entrepreneurs in diverse activities, leveraging Sheraa’s renowned programmes, such as Startup Blueprint, Startup Dojo, and Sharjah Startup Studio (S3), to nurture entrepreneurial ideas from conception to a viable product or service.

The Growth vertical, aligned with programs like Sheraa’s Access Sharjah Challenge (ASC), will focus on business scaling, sustainability, and addressing expansion-related hurdles. ASC also incorporates a Startup Readiness Sprint and Champion’s Training to provide coaching for startups and corporates, enhancing their collaboration for a more impactful relationship.

Within the Thought Leadership vertical, entrepreneurs will engage in local and international conferences, talks, and white papers, providing unique opportunities to network with global experts, exchange knowledge, and promote their entrepreneurial projects. Through this vertical, Sheraa will play a pivotal role in advancing knowledge within the entrepreneurial landscape by publishing comprehensive research and providing insightful data points for each of the four key sectors.

The initiative was officially announced during the 2024 Sharjah Ramadan Majlis, an annual event co-organised by Sheraa, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), and Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). Under this year’s theme of “Innovating for Impact,” the Majlis, held under the patronage of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the American University of Sharjah, provides a platform to facilitate dialogue and collaboration on various topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Through Sheraa’s dedication to impactful and sustainable progress, the CoE is set to shape a dynamic and future-ready entrepreneurial ecosystem, driving growth, innovation, and collaboration in the region and beyond.