2nd REE MENA delegates welcomed to UAE as an “Entrepreneurial Oasis”

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan officially opens the REE MENA 2012 event at the HCT Khalifa City Women's College.

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan officially opens the REE MENA 2012 event at the HCT Khalifa City Women's College.

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology said the UAE was a “comfortable” location for entrepreneurship educators as he welcomed delegates to the 2nd Accel Roundtable on Entrepreneurship Education MENA (REE MENA) at the HCT Khalifa City Women’s College in Abu Dhabi, yesterday.

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan delivered the key note address for the Roundtable, which is also held under his patronage, saying that the delegates would thrive on the imagination, drive and experience found in the UAE as an  “entrepreneurship oasis”.

“Forty years ago our founder Sheikh Zayed imagined the union of seven separate emirates.  He imagined a nation marked by tolerance and global involvement. The United Arab Emirates has from its beginning benefitted by being a high-imagination-enabling country.  Imagination has prompted innovative and creative action in government, education, and business.  The high regard for imagination in the UAE has made it an ‘entrepreneurship oasis’,” H.E. Sheikh Nahayan said.

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan noted the importance of the Roundtable saying that the discussions held over the two days would help to build a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, involving high-imagination-enabling countries (HIE).

“You have a rare opportunity to brainstorm, to share ideas, and to network. You will surely strengthen a vibrant and growing community of entrepreneur experts who can work together to advance entrepreneurship education in the region by creating a compelling and wholly attractive educational experience.

“Certainly we in the United Arab Emirates share that desire (to be an HIE).  We have thrived on the power of the imagination. You entrepreneurship educators and other members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem from the Middle East and North Africa and elsewhere should feel comfortable here,” he said.

Sheikh Nahayan said that “the right education will open entrepreneurial doors” but he noted there must be a “responsibility of educating students as full human beings” in order to be successful entrepreneurs, and not just concerned about the bottom line of making money.

“Responsible enterprises must concern themselves with three bottom lines of financial, societal, and environmental and a successful entrepreneur who damages society or harms the environment is a moral failure.  An unsuccessful entrepreneur who neither damages society nor harms the environment—and maybe even somehow enhances them—is an ethical success. I urge you to risk and to live.  I urge you to realize fully your potential in this HIE oasis,” Sheikh Nahayan concluded.

Professor Tom Byers, Founder and co-director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, said the Roundtable was a perfect opportunity to share dialogue around entrepreneurial ideas, on an international basis.

“The purpose is to gather together, share ideas and build communities, network and go out and change the way college education teaches entrepreneurship and innovation so that everyone can get access to it. This is truly a global phenomenon,” Professor Byers said.

Professor Byers reiterated that entrepreneurship and innovation were the “great enablers” for events such as the REE MENA and the HCT’s Festival of Thinkers conferences.

“That is what binds the concept of Festival of Thinkers … that is what binds the REE conferences. It is the common language and the common glue that binds the world together,” Prof. Byers added.

The REE MENA program aims to engage participants in practical and meaningful dialogue and idea-sharing while providing a unique, memorable and inspirational experience.

This Roundtable, which concludes today, is themed Entrepreneurship Oasis: Building the Regional Ecosystem 2012and promises to build on the success of the 2011 inaugural REE MENA. It had a diverse mix of high-technology entrepreneurship faculty, in the fields of business, science and engineering, from leading international institutions and UAE-based entrepreneurs participate in an in-depth exchange of entrepreneurship ideas in education. The REE MENA program aims to engage participants in practical and meaningful dialogue and idea-sharing while providing a unique, memorable and inspirational experience.

The REE MENA international speakers have included Professor Tom Byers from Stanford University; Heidi Roizen from the Stanford University Technology Ventures Program; Professor Steven P Nichols from the University of Texas at Austin; Paris de L’Etraz from the IE Business School in Madrid; Professor Felipe Santos from INSEAD and Julia Prats of the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra.

UAE-based speakers and panelists have include H.E. Abdullah Al Darmaki, CEO Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development; Dr. Mohamed Lahouel, Chief Economist, Economic Studies & Policies Division Dubai Government; Lina Hourani, Director – CSR Division, Al Ahli Holding Group; Sulaf Al-Zu’bi, CEO of INJAZ-UAE; Ludmilla Figueiredo, GM of Dubai-based organization Endeavor and Amer Bitar, Managing Director of Spacetoon International.

The Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), at Stanford University, presents five annual international conferences for entrepreneurship educators called Roundtables on Entrepreneurship Education (REE). These events take place in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa, and the USA. Since starting in 1998, more than 50 Roundtables have been held around the world. They are designed to stimulate communication and collaboration between business, science and engineering faculty who teach high-technology entrepreneurship in tertiary institutions around the world.