UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened on Tuesday the 3rd Annual Global Entrepreneurial Summit (GES) and the Exhibition at the World Trade Centre in Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed also witnessed signing of a number of scientific agreements.
Sheikh Mohammed addressed an audience consisting of more than 2,000 experts and decision-makers in the field of entrepreneurship in addition to small and medium enterprises around the world.
US President Barack Obama participated in the event through a televised statement on the importance of encouraging initiative and entrepreneurship in the region.
The inaugural session was attended by Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi and a number of ministers, senior officials and business leaders.
Sheikh Mohammed welcomed the participants to the summit hosted in the city of Dubai in the UAE, noting that the UAE is one of the pioneering countries in the world in supporting and encouraging young entrepreneurs.
He also asserted that UAE is a centre for creativity and innovation on the regional and global levels and provides the ideal environment. The Arab youth can benefit from this, develop their talents and exploit their energy and use it to serve the goals and objectives of their respective countries, he added.
'Confidence in ourselves and in our citizens'
He said that entrepreneurship is not an alien phenomenon for the Arabs.
"We invented the alphabets and many branches of science such as Algebra and mathematics. We the Arabs founded the first university in history, from where people of learning graduated in medicine, astronomy and mathematics. The Arab Islamic civilization is the first one that excelled in the globalization of culture, science and knowledge", Sheikh Mohammed said.
He added: "In the United Arab Emirates we overcame poverty and illiteracy because we have confidence in ourselves and in our citizens who have turned the desert into a modern state in the world".
"We are partners with all countries of the world in order to assume our responsibilities to create an attractive environment for creativity, an environment that will attract the young innovators across the Arab nation and the world at large", Sheikh Mohammed said.
Shedding light on the gradual development of UAE in the economic and educational fields, Sheikh Mohammed attributed this to the strong resolve adopted by the country's leadership.
"If we look at the recent past, it will remind us of the founders of this modern state, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, who built the country on the strong foundations".
Then, Sheikh Mohammed along with a crowd of Sheikhs, global entrepreneur thought-leaders and VIP guests attended the signing of a number of agreements including a partnership between the Government of the UAE and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT).
Inked by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Mohammed Abdullah Al Gargawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) calls for launching an integrated entrepreneurship initiative in consistence with the UAE Vision 2021, recently launched by Sheikh Mohammed which says: Emiratis will be confident citizens, steadfast in carving out their future in a spirit of entrepreneurship and responsibility, engaged in the course of their nation and embracing moral values for richer fulfillment.'' The vision also calls for inclusion of the entrepreneurship programmes in academic curricula.
Another MoU was signed by the HCT, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME), seeks to encourage and support young Emirati ambitious entrepreneurs, conduct training programmes for building their business capacities and consolidate channels of communication between them so as to share knowledge and experiences and develop their skills.
A group of Dubai government entities including the Department of Economic Development, Department of Customs, other government and semi-government agencies and private sector companies were also partnered to set up a joint taskforce to promote e-commerce and support SMEs.
Later, Sheikh Mohammed opened a parallel exhibition, a business platform for SMEs, suppliers to SMEs, SME funds, government agencies, public and private entities to showcase their products, services, initiatives and achievements in regional SME development, to a cross section audience including investors, channel partners and corporate procurement executives.
He stopped at a number of stands, expressing his admiration at the satisfactory results of SMEs inspired by young businessmen.
The GES is the leading US Government-supported forum for promoting economic growth through entrepreneurship. President Obama launched the GES in Washington, DC in 2010 to connect entrepreneurs, banks, venture capitalists, investors and others to catalyze partnerships, encourage growth and strengthen ties. In 2011, the second GES was held in Istanbul, Turkey, bringing together thousands from around the Middle East, South Asia, and the US.