In January 2016, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) was launched at the American University of Sharjah.
At the time, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, as well as numerous government officials, and more than 200 experts in the field of entrepreneurship attended the official opening ceremony.
Sheraa's university hub was built to foster creativity and collaboration.
The co-working space includes an in-house cafe, a seminar room, a meeting room, a maker space, an amphitheater, and dedicated workspaces for entrepreneurs in the Sheraa programs.
Thus far, Sheraa has trained over 900 aspiring entrepreneurs, inspired more than 3700 businessmen and women, and held around 50 events.
Here are 10 ways Sheraa is continuously empowering startups in the UAE:
1. By giving entrepreneurs free business licenses
Sheraa offers its accelerator program graduates a free trade license that is valid for a full year.
2. By offering expert mentoring
Through Sheraa's accelerator program, leading experts in the industry will be by your side with helpful advice, mentoring, and ongoing support.
3. By providing free office space
Free office space at the AUS-based Sheraa Hub is made available to the winning teams and successful graduates of its accelerator program.
4. By arranging free exhibition space
5. By introducing entrepreneurs to leading investors
Sheraa offers successful teams the opportunity to join a 3-months training program which ends with a demo day, where entrepreneurs pitch to seasoned investors, partners, and key clients.
6. By giving its graduates access to government and private sector contracts
Not only do you get to meet leading industry experts and mentors, Sheraa also gives you a platform to access major government and private sector contracts in Sharjah and the UAE.
7. By supporting startups with free marketing support
Sheraa wants to ensure all hardworking entrepreneurs succeed by giving them free marketing support from leading UAE-based PR agencies.
8. By offering free legal advice
Although this can normally be very expensive, Sheraa offers free legal advice to its graduates.
9. By enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to validate their business ideas with actual customers
Sheraa's Ideathon program will enable you to collect valuable feedback from real customers, collect valuable feedback about your business idea, and give you access to their community.
10. And... Sharjah has produced some of the UAE's best entrepreneurial talent
The city of Sharjah has produced some of the most talented and successful entrepreneurs in the region, including Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani (Co-founder of Musafir.com), Najla Al Ansari (Founder of Polished Spa), and Khalifa Al Jaziri (Founder of E-home Automation) amongst many others.
"Sheraa reflects our faith in the ability of our youth to make a difference..."
"Sheraa reflects our faith in the ability of our youth to make a difference, and to contribute positively to the prosperity of our economy and the development of our society," said Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment & Development Authority Shurooq and Chairperson of Sheraa.