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All-female team of Emirati students from Zayed University grabs top prize at Business for Better 2014

04 Jun 2014

An all-female team of Emirati students from Zayed University in Abu Dhabi won top honors at this year’s Business for Better competition for their business concept of a Multi-Gym facility for pregnant and elderly women. The winning team, comprising of Shamma Alfahim and Sumaia Alharthi took home AED 45,000 worth of scholarships each. The competition, which is organized by Western Union, a leader in global payment services, and Al Ansari Exchange, a UAE-based foreign exchange and worldwide money transfer company, held the awards ceremony recently at the Address Hotel, Dubai Marina. The winners were determined after 13 shortlisted teams that represented various reputed universities from the UAE, presented their business concepts to a panel of judges earlier in the day.

The 13 student teams made detailed presentations of their plans for sustainable business. Judges reviewed the presentations based on the criteria of ‘Originality of the Idea,’ ‘Business Concept and Description,’ ‘Proposed Implementation and Methodology,’ and ‘Financial Planning and Corresponding Budgets.’ Aside from Hatem Sleiman, Regional Vice President, Western Union, and Kamal Asif, Head of Business Development, Al Ansari Exchange, and the judging panel comprised of Imad Ghandour, Founder & Managing Director, CedarBridge Partners and Lisa Labonte, Founder & Chief Executive Office, Arab Youth Venture Foundation.

Rashed Ali Al Ansari, General Manager, Al Ansari Exchange, said: “We are very proud of the students who have joined this year’s ‘Business for Better 2014’ competition, whose entries have demonstrated creativity, potential and key marketability. Al Ansari Exchange has remained true to its commitment of implementing CSR initiatives. This year’s competition has allowed us to work closely again with our partners at Western Union to provide practical guidance to all participating students to help them shape their entrepreneurial skills and try to make a difference in the UAE’s education and business sector. We congratulate all the winners and wish them great success in theor academic and professional careers.”

Hatem Sleiman said: “All the participants in ‘Business for Better 2014’ competition presented viable business plans and it was a tough call for the judges to select the three winners. The winning team had successfully identified the need for a specialty gym with a focus on expectant mothers and elderly women. They presented their business concept effectively, covering all aspects of a thriving business such as the implementation of the idea, marketing plan, and a well thought off revenue model.”
“At Western Union we understand that education is one of the surest paths to financial inclusion. The Business for Better competition which we organize for the 3rd year with our Agent Al Ansari Exchange demonstrates our commitment to grow young minds and to create opportunity for all. We are proud of the achievements of the UAE’s students and congratulate the winners as well acknowledge the overwhelming support the competition has received over the years” Sleiman concluded.”

Eight universities, including the American University in Sharjah, the American University in Dubai, Zayed University, Heriot Watt University, Abu Dhabi University, University of Sharjah, Amity University and Manipal University participated in the ‘Business for Better 2014’ competition. Beside the shortlisted teams and judges, the family and friends of the students, university representatives, and senior executives from Western Union and Al Ansari Exchange, also attended the award ceremony.

The winning concept was the business proposal for a multi-gym especially for pregnant and elderly women along with teenagers and children. The proposed gym offers fitness programs, including yoga, aerobics and weightlifting for expectant mothers in order to keep them fit and healthy all through their pregnancy. In addition, there are specially designed Wii game programs for children and teenagers suffering from obesity. Other special features include exercises for elderly ladies to help fight age-related ailments such as arthritis and osteoporosis, fish pedicure, child center.

Grabbing second place was the team composed of Ahmed Abdur Rahman, Abdul Jabbar and Muhammed Anas from Manipal University, who were awarded AED 30,000 each as the prize money. The Abu Dhabi University’s team of Israr Ahmed, Muhammed Abdulla and Waleed Ihsan was placed third in the competition and received AED 20,000 each. The judging panel also handed over special awards for ‘Most Innovative Idea’ to the team of Khaled Gaber and Ahmed Elsayed from the American University of Sharjah, ‘Most Socially Responsible Business’ to the team of Nikhil Kumar, Meghna Nambissan and Shyair Ganglani from American University in Dubai and ‘Best Presentation Skills’ to the team of Yasmeen Rwaished and Mohanad Rwaished from American University of Sharjah. Participating students were presented with Certificates of Participation and Certificates of Appreciation in recognition of their efforts.

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All-female team of Emirati students from Zayed University grabs top prize at Business for Better 2014