GEMS Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Brings Students From Around the World to Dubai

by Glen Dalakian II, December 13, 2012

After introducing a new entrepreneurship curriculum in their schools and recently inspiring our list of entrepreneurship programs for high school students in the Arab world, GEMS Education (Global Education Management System) recently contributed to the Wellington International School Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, along with SCH Academy, bringing students from across the globe together in Dubai to design innovative solutions to local problems.

GEMS is an international education company that owns and operates schools around the world, with locations in London, New York, Singapore, Delhi, Riyadh, and Dubai. The company also offers education consulting services to both the public and private sectors.

Over the three day gathering, students from Wellington International School in Dubai and Springside Chestnut Hill (SCH) Academy in Philadelphia, PA, USA collaborated to apply the principles they learned in their curriculum to solve specific problems or challenges they identified. American students traveled as part of SCH's global entrepreneurship program, eSCHift, and were hosted by the Wellington families.

Ali Ahmed, one of the student participants, said, “I enjoyed meeting new people, developing new skills, and learning to cooperate with people from around the world.” The event attracted students from the US, Kazakhstan, Egypt, India, the UK, South Africa, Germany, Denmark, and Lebanon.

Students began the summit by identifying a problem they wanted to solve, including:

  • How might we create a better home?
  • How can we connect students with similar interests in different countries?
  • How can we create an after school enrichment center?
  • How can we help students who struggle to put their ideas on paper?
  • How might we help students will ADHD?

Next, students conducted interviews with their peers, teachers, parents, and visitors at Wellington. They used this data to develop a “needs statement” and used their experience to brainstorm ideas. Looking carefully at these ideas, they then identified the ones most likely to “succeed, delight, and break through.”

After securing an idea, student teams created prototypes on which they gathered feedback and used the feedback to improve their design and to write basic business plans to assess whether or not their idea might be viable.

Student then prepared three to five minute pitches for a panel of experts, sharing their second prototype, their process, and insights from their business plan.

Throughout the program, students met with local leaders and entrepreneurs to learn about innovation in the region, including a “meet-a-thon” at the MAKE Business Hub. The event attracted speakers from Dubizzle, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, the Kairos Society, Silicon Oasis Founders, the American Chamber of Commerce, MAKE, and The Change Initiative.

Students came up with ideas including an app for healthy eating, that the school may adapt to support their wellness initiatives, and an after school program for high school students interested in IT, entrepreneurship and social innovation. The top two groups were awarded just $100 as start-up funds, but the real reward was the experiential learning and useful expert advise.

“The program has made me more aware that once you have a vision you believe in, the initial failure should not deter you from achieving your goal. Don't dwell on past mistakes but "fail forward"; look ahead and plan for a brighter future,” said Sebastian Menelaou, a student participant.

GEMS’s focus on entrepreneurship in the Arab world through their curriculum, and events such as these, is helping young students to learn basic principles about risk-taking, creativity, identifying gaps in the market, and finding innovative solutions from an early age. This summit even inspired some of the participating students to try and create further teen-focused entrepreneurship programs at venues in Dubai such as MAKE to share experiences, ideas, and to and find other ambitious entrepreneurs-in-the-making.

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Glen is Features Editor at Wamda. You can follow him on Twitter @glenjd2, connect with him on LinkedIn and Google+, or reach him at glen[at]wamda[dot]com.

 
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