Arnav Kedia, a Grade 11 student at GEMS World Academy Dubai, has strong interests in a variety of fields, including debate, engineering, and entrepreneurship. Academically passionate about math and science, he achieved first place nationally in Olympiads for both these subjects, and won academic competitions such as the World Scholar’s Cup. ‘‘Engineering is another field that defines me as an individual, which led me to serve as the Team Manager for my school’s F1 in Schools team Delta, X-15, and be awarded two-time UAE national champions and world finalists of the competition,’’ says Arnav. A champion in debating, he is the Secretary-General for MUN at his school and President of his school’s Debate Club.
With a keen interest in entrepreneurship as well, he developed Buddy Bear and Carbon Wallet, and launched an entrepreneurship workshop at his school. Several awards have come his way, including at the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge, GEMS Global Innovation Challenge, and Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition.
Excerpts from an interview:
How did you develop a passion for entrepreneurship?
It began at a young age due to my interest in designing innovative products that could be of value to the world around me. I designed a habitat for ants and pitched it for a school project when I was about 6 years old. This provided me with insight into how enriching and exciting endeavors in entrepreneurship could be, which urged me to continue trying to develop new products. I was also motivated to pursue entrepreneurship due to my innate passion for public speaking and sharing my perceptions with others. I won the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge for my idea Buddy Bear. I furthered my interest in technology by creating a robotic arm for my IB personal project.
Who are your mentors and what are the top 5 lessons they taught you?
One of my mentors is Peter Davos, the founder of Hale Education Group, who is supporting me to translate my passions and achievements into the best possible university plan, and really helping to develop my ideas like Buddy Bear further. Another is Helen Al Uzaizi, director of entrepreneurship at my school, who is supportive of my entrepreneurial endeavors and was instrumental in developing my entrepreneurial mindset. There’s also Dr. Saima Rana, CEO of GEMS World Academy Dubai, who supports and encourages my ventures.
Among the valuable lessons I learn are the importance of conducting lots of research to validate the demand for your idea in the market; creating a minimum viable product to ensure sufficient testing can be done with potential customers; not being afraid to pivot if necessary for the business to adapt to a changing market; always thinking through the perspective of your customers; and starting small and then expanding to ensure any potential risks are mitigated early on.
Tell us about the Buddy Bear and the Carbon Wallet that you launched.
Buddy Bear is a teddy for children aged 2-9 which has sensors to measure various medical symptoms that could be potentially linked to life-threatening illnesses like cancer. All values collected from the sensors on the bear are sent to an app which provides a holistic overview of the child’s health.
This idea originated from my desire to combine my interest in coding and technology with my passion for solving humanitarian issues. I have been able to work on this for the past 4 years and I am now attracting traction from various hospitals, clinics, and medical device groups.
The Carbon Wallet is an application which aims to incentivize young people to be more sustainable in their lifestyle. The app contains a virtual wallet which users can fill with points when they perform eco-friendly activities, and then redeem these points for coupons at various stores with a sustainable mission. We are now in the process of programming the app and seeking investment.
For details, www.hale.org