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SEF gives wings to convictions, ideas of aspiring changemakers

The fifth annual edition of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF), one of the largest events for entrepreneurs in the region, organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), concluded on Tuesday, witnessing a strong participation of attendees representing diverse nationalities and age groups brimming with bright ideas and conviction to shape a better world.

Held at Expo Centre Sharjah with the theme  #WhereStarsCollide, the two-day festival brought together 55 business leaders, experts, influencers, and cultural figures from around the world to lead nearly 60 activities comprising panel discussions, workshops, inspiring talks, and book signing ceremonies.

The two-day festival discussed ways to make a meaningful impact and promote positive change in the UAE’s entrepreneurship sector and the region through expertise exchange, discussions, and inspiring journeys of eminent guests and speakers.

Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, commented: “The high level of engagement we saw for every workshop, conversation and activity showcased the commitment and drive the community has for leveraging entrepreneurship to shape a sustainable, inclusive and impact-driven society. SEF 2021 saw changemakers from all walks of life come together to connect, grow, and innovate, once more solidifying Sharjah as a leading entrepreneurship hub that attracts and develops world-class talent.”

The CEO continued, “On behalf of Sheraa, I would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the festival, especially our partners and the team at Sheraa who spared no effort to achieve the level of success that we have been fortunate enough to witness this year.”

SEF 2021 was organised in partnership with the ICT Fund – an initiative of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the Digital Government of the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah Media City (Shams), Alef Group, and the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

Curtains came down on the 5th Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF) on Tuesday after a packed, two-day programme that saw innovators, thought leaders and thinkers deliver real value to more than 4,000 young changemakers through engaging discussions and inspirational talks to fuel their journey of entrepreneurial growth.

Delivering the concluding keynote address of SEF 2021, Lewis Howes, motivational speaker and author of The School of Greatness, hailed the inspiring story of the UAE – from a desert nation just over 50 years ago to its upward trajectory of growth spanning sectors – and said that it holds the key to the framework essential to cultivate both personal and entrepreneurial success.

“I am inspired by the vision, unity, innovation and creativity that has spurred the phenomenal growth of this country. Fifty years ago, this was all just a dream, but a few visionary leaders came together to realise this dream and committed themselves to make it happen,” said Howes, asserting the power of having a vision and sharing those dreams with others to bring to fruition one’s life goals.

At the session titled, ‘Chasing Greatness’, Howes, a former professional football player and popular podcast host, said: “Self-doubt is the silent killer of big dreams, and the three primary barriers to achieving greatness are the fear of failure, fear of success, and fear of judgment.”

House of Wisdom: The various immersive and non-traditional spaces for learning, sharing, creating and accessing knowledge at the House of Wisdom were showcased to the more than 4,000 young entrepreneurs, future founders and innovators at the fifth Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival who were encouraged to take advantage of the multiple learning facilities at the futuristic and cultural hub in their quest for innovation.

The House of Wisdom’s pavilion at SEF 2021, which creatively reinterpreted its central courtyard or the Wisdom Square, attracted hundreds of creative makers and passionate innovators who visited the two-day festival. Through engaging dialogues with House of Wisdom experts, visitors were offered detailed consultations on ways they can use the destination’s facilities to build product prototypes and transform their ideas into creative projects.

Five book signing sessions were also hosted at the House of Wisdom pavilion at SEF 2021. Authors Michael Acton Smith, Pauline Nguyen, Vishen Lakhiani, Tahmima Anam, and Lewis Howes signed their books at the Wisdom Square.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director, House of Wisdom, said: “The House of Wisdom is a dynamic space for enhancing learning through dialogue, and experimentation, where one can gain proficiency not only in the arts and sciences but also in entrepreneurship. For instance, our Fab Lab makerspace is equipped with cutting-edge technologies including state-of-the-art 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutting machines, and more, which innovators can leverage to create prototypes of products and experimental projects.”

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