The center enables a new generation of entrepreneurs, whilst making Sharjah an entrepreneurship hub for the region. Crescent Enterprises has partnered with Sheraa to launch its social entrepreneurship track.
Sheraa has 5 programmes through which it provides its support:
An 8-week programme that helps founders build a unique and validated business model by identifying and working with their target customers to get first-hand insight on how to create and deliver value to them. To date, 163 ideas have been validated.
This programme is meticulously designed to guarantee founders achieve product-market fit and early traction in 18 weeks. By marrying market research and product development functions, founders get a first-hand experience on how to develop a minimum viable product. 46 Viable Products have been developed to date.
This intensive 6-week programme focuses on getting start-ups ready for seed investment. The start-up’s marketing and sales growth is hacked to achieve the desired hockey-stick like growth. This is attained by optimising the channels necessary for customer acquisition and pirate metrics. 52 experiments ran by 5 start-ups since programme’s inception.
This programme focuses on business growth drivers: strategy, cash, processes and people, expanding impact, and becoming ready for Series A investment. It helps Series A teams to connect and work closely with government organisations and private companies. 174 connections made for Series A start-ups.
Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF) 2018 was attended by more than 3,000 people with a 50% growth rate from SEF 2017, making the festival the fastest growing entrepreneurship event in the region. More than 75 exhibiting start-ups participated in the festival.
Sheraa was able to obtain an 80% reduction in licensing costs for start-ups from Sharjah Media City (Shams).
In response to COVID-19, the American University of Sharjah (AUS) organized its first Virtual Career Fair in strategic partnership with Crescent Enteprises. The initiative aims to provide students and alumni with opportunities for career planning and development.
The AUS Virtual Career Fair, held on April 2020, offered job and internship seekers an opportunity to connect with top recruiters via video or text chat, browse booths of participating employers, check and apply for vacancies, attend virtual auditorium sessions, and network with participating recruiters. Participating employers were also provided access to a range of digital tools that supported efforts to identify and recruit talented AUS students and alumni. Recruiters were able to search resumes based on specific criteria including academic programs and experience levels.
Results: Despite challenges imposed by COVID-19, the Fair was a first-of-a-kind in the UAE, successfully attracting 34 corporate participants. It was also attended by over 1,600 students and alumni. Career development webinars were also organized, benefitting 496 students and graduates. In addition, three job search preparation days were also organized during Fall 2020 that attracted the participation of recruiters from 28 different companies to develop the skills of 1,081 students and fresh graduates in CV writing, interviewing skills as well as to acquaint them with current available career options and trends.
AUS Enterprising Youth:
This capacity-building initiative works to spark the interest in youth to pursue their own sustainable innovations and start-ups. Panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses are organised as part of the initiative to guide and provide support for participants in their journeys of identifying opportunities and trends that can be turned into start-ups.
Results: In 2018, Crescent Enterprises executives engaged with 262 students to provide expert advice promoting entrepreneurship. Our partners, including Sheraa and Pearl Initiative, also participated.
HBR offers world-class management content to the readers to address management gap in Arab region and contribute to economic revitalisation. With our support over the last five years, thousands of young entrepreneurs and professionals who cannot otherwise afford the subscription fees, can access HBR Arabia at no cost.
Results: Overall, 2,123 entrepreneurs from 13 countries received support from HBR. 23% of entrepreneurs were female.
To address the ongoing concern of youth unemployment in the Arab world, in 2013 Crescent Enterprises formed a partnership with Education for Employment (EFE), an international network of affiliated nonprofit organisations dedicated to creating economic opportunities for unemployed, high-potential youth in the Middle East and North Africa. As a key part of the partnership, Crescent Enterprises has extended its role as its founding Gulf partner, working to provide EFE with ongoing strategic guidance and networking support, in addition to exploring opportunities to jointly recruit, train, and place young Arabs within Crescent Group companies.
As a founding member, Crescent Enterprises assisted in the 2012 launch of the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT), the commercial, research and training arm of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), the largest higher education institution in the UAE. In collaboration with HCT and CERT, Crescent Enterprises has sponsored over 50 graduating student projects, through which critical support is provided towards the ongoing development of UAE national students as well as access to job opportunities within Crescent Enterprises and its subsidiaries.
Crescent Enterprises spearheaded the creation of The Jafar Center for Executive Education, which offers a variety of executive education programmes directly related to businesses and government institutions in the UAE and the wider GCC Region. In addition to leadership development programmes adapted to the needs of each client organisation, the centre creates and delivers short courses on specialised topics, presents review classes leading to professional certifications, and provides expert advisory and consulting services.
We partnered with the Sharjah Ladies Club to deliver a series of entrepreneurship workshops targeting 8–13-year-old girls to encourage social entrepreneurship from an early age. 28 girls participated in a series of workshops aimed at introducing entrepreneurial skills. The girls were provided with the tools to conjure business ideas, build them into a business model, and pitched their model to a panel of investors.
Empowering female entrepreneurs
As part of our commitment to support the development of female entrepreneurs and to foster young talent in the region, we have partnered with the Sharjah Ladies Club to support its Collage Talent Centre and the Ebriez Exhibition. We jointly reached 11,000 community members and to equip women and children with the entrepreneurial skills to set up businesses. We provided them with a working space to pursue their ideas, hone their talents, and contribute to the economy.
To uphold the importance of female leadership in business, in 2014 and 2015, Crescent Enterprises joined forces with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, to empower, mentor and support female entrepreneurs across the Middle East. Drawing from the 6,000 strong workforce of Crescent Enterprises and its subsidiary companies, a group mentors were selected to provide their professional expertise and guidance to the Foundation’s “Mentoring Women in Business” programme in the Middle East for a course of one year via an online mentoring platform.
Crescent Enterprises has partnered with the largest network of social entrepreneurs, Ashoka, to increase the presence and impact of social entrepreneurs in the Gulf Region through the launch of the new initiative Arab World Social Entrepreneurship Program (ASEP). With the support of Crescent Enterprises, ASEP was launched to preselect the most promising social innovators in the region, who are working specifically to address the current challenges of obesity, water scarcity and women participation for inclusive growth.
Crescent Enterprises partnership with Dubai Cares was inspired by the need to immediately address the acute lack of educational infrastructure for underprivileged and neglected children. In 2013, we proudly committed our efforts and support to Dubai Care’s “Adopt a School” initiative to fund the construction of a school in Nepal. After one year of planning and several weeks of building, the school opened its doors to more than 160 children, ages 5 to 12, to receive primary education and serve as an additional space for adult literacy classes.