The weekly Market Day at the Canadian University Dubai helps students develop their entrepreneurial skills.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The youth and responsible entrepreneurship are channels for a highly uncertain world to keep on going and in Dubai is a “student-run program” that has been incubating risk-taking inventors and future employable employees or much better, nurturing employer-mentors.
The student-run program is the Small Business Sundays and Market Mondays, in place since November 2021 at the Canadian University of Dubai (CUD). Initiators are Student Business Society president Madhulika Karthi and Student Council president Syed Husain.
Husain said: “Each week, students get to promote their business activities, giving them the experience of a real market set-up. They are enthusiastic with so many diverse ideas across different products and services.”
Ramsha Rehan (Marketing), Riya Sawlani (Accountancy and Finance), and Ahmad Aljasmi (International Business) and business partner alumnus Abdallah Ahmed Baswaid were among the recently featured.
“As students, it is fairly difficult to get recognition for our innovative ideas. This is the exact reason (for Market Monday). It is essentially held on Sundays/Mondays for students to get more exposure to their ideas or their small businesses. This is their opportunity to demonstrate their ambitions to become entrepreneurs,” said Karthi.
The project which also plays on “peer support” is praiseworthy. According to the 44-page “Exploring Youth Entrepreneurship” by the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consultant Prof. Diane Holt, the espousal of people “between the ages of 15 and 35” into developing micro to medium enterprises (MMEs) which may transform into huge international corporations when properly managed, would help concretize four of the 17 (UNSDGs).
In enumerating the four SDGs, the Leeds University Business School (UK) Entrepreneurship professor said these are inter-woven with one another since through youth-fashioned MMEs, No Poverty (Number 1: Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality) is achievable.
The three SDGs towards Number 1 are Decent Work and Economic Growth (Number 8: Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs); Reduced Inequalities (Number 10: To reduce inequalities, policies should be universal in principle, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations); and Gender Equality (Number 5: Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world).
Holt wrote that the development of the youth as ingenious business people may be impeded due to dis-interested family and friends, prejudicial financial systems and product markets, including the lack of work/entrepreneurship experience and role models.
Yet, she also stated: “Youth entrepreneurship and youth employability are interlinked. The policy initiatives designed to promote youth entrepreneurship may also help to create a more employable youth workforce. If a youth entrepreneurship program does not create new businesses but helps those that participate to gain more meaningful and decent work, then this is also of value.”
Third generation entrepreneur Sawlani, 20, who brought along at the Market Day her “hand-poured, customizable, biodegradable pure soy wax with organic essential oils”-scented candles, said: “I knew I had it in me to start something of my own. But I never knew the potential it had since I launched it. I have definitely learned the lesson of consistency and persistence through this because I have noticed that the more effort I put into my business, the better it seems to do.”
Cake maker Rehan who is into product diversification as well as franchising and goes for biodegradable packaging said: “The Market Day events are memorable. They definitely helped me a lot since it increased the brand and product awareness among students and the community. It was not just a case of displaying my company’s branding. The marketing strategies considered my business objectives and how the distinct brand personality can be conveyed through an experience. Certainly, foolish risks are awful; but, taking chances you believe in could be the key to your success.”
Both 23, Aljasmi and Baswaid set up eight months back, with their respective savings, a fashion brand “with the long-term goal of producing all out clothes in sustainable fabrics,” capture the world market and “give back to the community.”