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Nation Home > Youth Spot
Therapy, gift shops and more

Dhanusha Gokulan / 8 July 2012

Entrepreneurs of the future showcased their business plan at an ‘Apprentice style’ event at the third edition of Big Start student entrepreneur competition.

Competing against 78 business idea submissions, Aditi Sen’s idea to provide animal-assisted therapy for psychologically and medically-ill patients took top honours at the competition. The winner of the nine-month long competition was announced at a glitzy event in Dubai, last week.

Organised by Al Tamimi Investments (ATI), Aditi spent the last nine months developing her idea into viable and comprehensive business plans. Currently pursuing an MBA in Contemporary Marketing at the SP Jain Centre of Management, Aditi was chosen as winner from among three finalists. Others competing students were Syrian national Meher Jabri and Kuwaiti national Nur Amer. Khaleej Times caught up with the three finalists speaking to them about the feasibility of their business project.

“I have always wanted to do something so that I can contribute to society in a meaningful way. When Big Start happened, I had a vague concept of animal-assisted therapy. I connected the dots and figured out that this particular idea would do well in a place like Dubai,” said Sen. 

Khaleej TimesKhaleej Times“I think this business would do very well for children. Pets offer a lot of qualities that kids can pick up from. Qualities like friendship, trust and love are not something that youngsters can learn from books,” she added.

The concept was highly appreciated because the number of autistic cases and cases of depression has been increasing in recent times, added Sen. She is now set to receive full funding, mentoring and support to establish her business in partnership with ATI.

Nur recently graduated from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) with a Bachelors degree in Journalism Studies. Nur said: “The idea is a customised gift/greeting card shop, where every person can come and have a unique gift customised for an event for a special person. The card can reflect the personality of the person, have a picture of them showing the relationship between the card-giver and the one receiving it.”

Maher Jabri is pursuing an MBA at Middlesex University, Dubai. His business idea is a low-cost mobile home automation solution. “My target market is people in the low or middle income group.

The consumer should have a smart phone, which is hooked to a main device installed in the apartment.  All electrical devices can be operated through the system. Sure, I did not win the competition, but I will now try and reevaluate the business plan and find a new investor who is willing to support me in this,” said Jabri. 

ATI Chairman Essam Al Tamimi said that the quality of submissions in this time was outstanding! “All three finalists produced impressive work throughout the competition and presented strong, investable ideas.”


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