Business and Economy

UOW Dubai students get an entrepreneurial education at iAccelerate

Program gives students the knowledge and skills to accelerate and sustain business growth.

The University of Wollongong’s business accelerator and incubator iAccelerate hosted 14 students from University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) as part of an intensive learning opportunity from January 20 – 31.

It was a unique opportunity for the diverse group of students, currently enrolled in the Master of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship and other programs in International Business, Marketing and Human Resources.

During the iAccelerate program the students worked on their research capstone projects while accessing mentorship and assessment by our top industry and academic experts. 

The students were welcomed by iAccelerate CEO Omar Khalifa.

“To see such a well-prepared, diverse and driven cohort from University of Wollongong in Dubai prepare for their entrepreneurial journey at iAccelerate is simply inspiring,” he said. 

Through iAccelerate’s Educate Program, a series of workshops were facilitated by experts-in-residence (EIR) Frank Marzano, Aly Khalifa, Anthony Colfelt, Rod Andersen, and Belinda Gibbons from UOW’s Faculty of Business. Topics ranged from Value Proposition Design, Customer Discovery, Startup Innovation and Positioning, Brand Development, Pitch Trainings, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals workshop.

UOWD student Hayder Al-Khalil said: “The level of depth and understanding was something completely astonishing and iAccelerate was able to change the perception that we previously had. I enjoyed the education programs and was completely amazed to see how far a business can go.

“The best thing about the whole experience is that it was a completely different style of learning and we were able to open our minds to new ideas.”

iAccelerate’s Educate is a tailored education program that gives entrepreneurs deep knowledge across a diversity of skills to accelerate and sustain business growth. 

“The students mentioned that iAccelerate gave them more interactive sessions than just the usual classroom atmosphere and are waiting to share their new-found knowledge back in Dubai,” Dr Osama Al-Hares, Director of the  UOWD Master of Business program, said. 

Ahmed Alfatih Dafalla Mohamed, a Masters in Quality Management student, said: “I was able to gain more perspective from speaking to the mentors, as they have been in the industry, and found that very informative.

“iAccelerate’s Business Model Canvas was very insightful and unique, which gave me an in-depth understanding about starting my business.”

Through active engagement and interaction with our experts and residents, the students were involved in a hands-on experience of what it takes to build and grow a successful start up.

“I used to believe that I will never be able to open up my own business, but through the program, by iAccelerate, it has sparked an interest to pursue and build my own business. It is truly something I will look into more in-depth as I head back to Dubai,” said student Sara Labib, who majors in Human Resource Management. 

“What I have learnt here is different and has given me a fresh perspective. In Dubai we learn more theory, and in Australia it was more hands-on. The facilities here are outstanding and helped us to see the ways we can improve back in our own countries.”

One of the highlights of the study tour was the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Workshop with EIR Aly Khalifa and UOW Impact Maker Belinda Gibbons. The workshop highlighted this new era of business innovation, which has a huge focus on greater social — and business — impact. 

“The program at iAccelerate taught us to be better entrepreneurs. I was able to apply the knowledge I gained from iAccelerate and incorporate into my own business idea and this has reshaped the way I am thinking,” Mr. Mohamed said. 

The students also visited UOW’s industry and commercial partners and research facilities such as the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, Global Enterprises, and the Australian Institute for Innnovative Materials, among others. 

Story by UOW Media Unit.

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