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The Young Entrepreneur Competition : “Step Up Shabab”

Towards the Next 50


The United Arab Emirates continues to make significant investments in innovation and entrepreneurship under the umbrella of the national knowledge economy strategy. Abu Dhabi University contributes to the implementation of the strategy by graduating professionals with relevant 21st-century skills and competencies needed in the future workforce.

Abu Dhabi University’s Young Entrepreneur Competition, 'Step Up Shabab', works in a similar way. The competition inspires high school students to innovate and create solutions that support the national growth agenda and respond to the ongoing societal and economic transitions caused by COVID-19. The competition offers students a platform for practicing these critical skills in a safe and friendly environment.



The competition has five themes aligned with the UAE 2030 vision:

  • Wellbeing in the Times of COVID-19
  • Sustainability and Behavioral Change
  • Social Innovation and Community engagement
  • Innovative Ideas for the UAE’s next 50 Years
  • Robotics and Advanced Technologies in the UAE


How it works

Teams should submit one-page of ideas. We will then invite the teams with the most innovative ideas to a virtual workshop in February 2021. The final event with the 60 best teams will take place in April 2021.

Important Deadlines:

  • Ideas submission: 15 February 2021
  • Full proposal submission: 31 March 2021
  • The final event on ADU campuses: 17 and 24 April 2021


Who can participate

The competition is targeted at high school students in the UAE. Each team should have a mentor who will act as advisor.

The selected teams will be invited to Abu Dhabi University campus to provide a 15-minute pitch presentation followed by an interactive question and answer session about the proposed idea.



The competition is about developing and promoting ideas for improving the lives of people, businesses, and special groups in the UAE. The concepts should be innovative, feasible, and practical, and can be profit-focused or nonprofit-focused. The ideas should exploit change as an opportunity to create value or generate income and should drive positive social change. They could be innovative products, new or improved services, processes, or out-of-the-box business concepts that will create lasting social value.



The winning teams will be invited to a final event at Abu Dhabi University in April 2021.


We will award attractive prizes and certificates of appreciation.

Important dates

Deadline for proposals15 February 2021

Final Event

Abu Dhabi17 April 2021
Al Ain24 April 2021