Abu Dhabi: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, on Sunday attended the launch of the UAE chapter of Pitch@Palace, following the selection of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development as the strategic partner for this international initiative in the Arabian Gulf region.
Founded by the Duke of York in 2014, the Pitch@Palace initiative aims to support entrepreneurs with amplification and acceleration of their business ideas by connecting them with potential supporters, including CEOs, investors, elevators and key business partners.
The entrepreneurs that are given the opportunity to pitch at Pitch@Palace are selected by a judging panel at a boot camp. The Pitch@Palace Boot Camp provides entrepreneurs with coaching and mentoring, and an opportunity to practice their pitch to an audience.
Shaikh Mohammad said: “We welcome such creative initiatives, which contribute to boosting the capabilities of entrepreneurs and enable them to benefit from international expertise.”
He thanked Britain’s Duke of York for this initiative.
Prince Andrew said it was an honour to cooperate with Shaikh Mohammad and with the Khalifa Fund to introduce the Pitch@Palace in Abu Dhabi and the Gulf countries.
He said that over the past two years, Pitch@Palace has helped over 240 businesses grow, helped create over 700 job opportunities and around £250 million in economic activity.
Prince Andrew said that the growing demand among British entrepreneurs and startups will help bring this unique brand to the Middle East, adding that Shaikh Mohammad shares the same interest in supporting entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the Gulf.
“This programme will enable entrepreneurs in the Gulf to develop their projects and to join international markets through the network of connections we provide. I wish the entrepreneurs in the Gulf good luck in applying and getting nominated to be part of Pitch@Palace,” he said.
Hussain Jasem Al Nowais, Chairman of the Khalifa Fund said: “We are proud to be selected as strategic partners for this pioneering initiative and we will work to ensure that Pitch@Palace 1.0 in Abu Dhabi is a success.”
He further said the past five years, saw the Fund organising 507 training courses for 7,600 Emiratis.
Al Nowais revealed that the Fund will begin to receive applications for Pitch@Palace in the first quarter of 2017. An advanced training course will be organised for the short-listed applicants, before the final selection.
According to Al Nowais, the selected entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to pitch directly to an invited audience of judges from the world of entrepreneurship, tech, media and investment in the networking event, held at St. James’s Palace in the UK.