Students from the HCT-Sharjah Men’s campus (SJM) were able to showcase their innovative and entrepreneurial skills when they competed in the Commercialization Challenge on November 20, 2018.
The purpose of the challenge is to take the innovative projects, from students studying the innovation course, a further step toward an implementation of a real entrepreneurship project.
Students collected data from the real life market, calculated their risks, prepared tentative budgets, planned their competition strategy, conducted their SWOT analysis, prepared their prototypes, Business model canvases and came to the challenge to compete with each other.
Judges were Professor David Lal, Professor in Business, Nabil Afifi, Associate Professor in Engineering, and Dan Ivanov, Associate Professor and Chair of Business division at SJM.
The competition started with a speech from SJM student, Abdul Rahman Al Jarman, who is a successful entrepreneur. He spoke about his experience in the world of making money and encouraged students to start early to grow faster. This was followed by the judges evaluating the nine projects to evaluate. After an hour and a half of exacting evaluations, the judges were given the arduous task of deciding the best three winners. However, the quality of submissions was so high they pick the best four groups.
Meanwhile a group of organizers from the General Studies department wrote a detailed report about each and every project to prepare for the booklet of the first commercialization challenge. The students’ mentors worked hard for more than three months to prepare the student for this competition. Five mentors from the Faculty of Business supervised the work of the students.
The first group has an innovative idea about a white stick that is equipped with different types of sensors. It is designed to help blind people to live a better life independently. The group was able to show the tentative budget of the first year of their project and the list of business customers they want to target from all over the world. Nassir Ali, group team leader, explained how they met with more than 50 potential customers. They played the role of blind people to feel like they feel and to act like they act. They analyzed the responses of their interviewees and modified their prototype accordingly.
The first winners team included AbdulRahman Khaled, AbdulRahman Hussein, Nasser Ali, Abdulla Ali, Mohamed Abdulla, Ammar Mohamed. The second place was occupied by two teams. One team innovated a user-friendly smart desk and this desk is equipped with technological support to enable students and business people to use this portable desk to memorize, analyze and summarize different situations and lectures. This desk can be charged and can use more than one screen at the same time, including a laptop screen as well as the mobile screen. Users can change the height of the desk to fit with their seats and body sizes.
Team Leader, Khaled Mohamed said: ” We spent more than three days after making everything ready to prepare for this challenge and we feel excited about starting our own business. We think it is profitable and we will continue this project. It is not only for passing the competition of the innovation course, it about learning new things about the market in the real life and the practicing of entrepreneurship.”
The members of the team of the smart desk are Ali AbdulRahim, AbdulAziz Ishaq, Khalid Mohamed, Osama Mohamed, Sultan El Nimr.
The other 2nd-placed team, Omar Ahmed Alshehhi, Hasan Ali Albishr, Yousef Abdullah Alraeesi, Abdullah Khalid Alawadhi, Jasem Khalid Jalal, created a project called the Smart Road Sensor.
The sensor is a prototype for a machine that warns drivers beforehand of an approaching of a pedestrian crossing. This sensor is important to avoid crossing this critical zone by high-speed cars. The students proved using feedback from many interviews that this innovation can have positive impact on the quality of using roads, especially avoiding dangerous accidents in this zone.
Team leader, Yousef Al Raeeisi spoke about the market research that the team conducted on the different types of road users. He explained the mechanism of how this machine works, and about the savings in the costs of detection of accidents after using this mechanism.
In third place was the “easy bottle innovation” team. It is a new idea of merging GPS to a bottle of water with plenty of pockets for keeping the car key, the pills of medicine, the wallet of money and the bottle of water “all in one container”, and to support it by a GPS tracker. This practical and time-saving innovation is directed to sports players, business people, or any other person who has a fast life style. This innovation has many colors and sizes and fits men and women. The team created a list of sports’ clubs, companies and sports to sell the product to, as well as creating a global-oriented marketing and plan.
Prof. David Lal said the competition showed a high level of innovative projects, which should be shared with a broader audience. Dr. Dan Ivanov said the competition showed the real benefit of innovation where students are tested against their ability to make profits.
Dr. Nabil Afifi said that he enjoyed the wonderful event and was keen to participate in future events.
Mrs. Rasha AbouSamra, the course team leader of innovation and entrepreneurship, said that the preparation for this challenge was a big task, but was highly enjoyable.
The team of mentors consisted of Dennis Tan, Jaishree Azarpota, Samia Yaqoot, Suresh Sandrum, and Rasha Abou Samra. The team of organizers from General Studies department consisted of Alma Piric, Julian Barona, and Dr. Said Nour.
Dr. Abdulla Al Suwaiji, Executive Director of the HCT-Sharjah campuses, sat among the students to encourage them to do their best in their next steps, and congratulated the winning teams of the winners. Certificates were presented to all participants.