Poonam Bhojani with her Excellence in Education – Best Education Entrepreneur award

Prior to her career as an educationist, Poonam Bhojani worked in the technology sector, with her work taking her across Western Europe, USA, Hong Kong, and Oman. Poonam earned her MBA from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

She took a sabbatical to raise her two sons. As she got more involved in their education, she realised the significant gap in K12 international schools in Dubai at the time. Her dream was to create a school that would provide holistic, rigorous and truly international education.

Innoventures Education was founded in 2004 with the first school, Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills, opening its doors in September 2005 with more than 500 pupils – including Poonam’s two sons. DIA Emirates Hills is the first IB school rated Outstanding by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)

Today, Innoventures Education serves over 9,200 students from over 120 countries, who are taught by a team of over 1,500 dedicated teachers and support staff. It operates Dubai’s most sought-after schools and nurseries: Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills and Al Barsha, Collegiate International School, Raffles International School, Raffles World Academy, and Raffles Early Childhood Centres; offering diverse curricula including International Baccalaureate, UK National Curriculum, American Common Core, BTEC and Early Years Foundation System.

This year, Innoventures students have secured scholarships amounting to $14 million, performing exceptionally with first-choice university placements.

This award is dedicated to all our wonderful students, my amazing multicultural team of more than 1,500 education leaders, teachers and support staff, and of course, the Innoventures Education parents and families who have entrusted us with their confidence. Innoventures Education has always been a passion project, and we are all driven by and united in our passion for excellence in education. My life’s mission is to empower Innoventures Education students for success in today’s dynamic, global community. Receiving this award is a humbling validation of all the hard work, dedication and perseverance over the years that has contributed to building Dubai’s most sought-after schools and early childhood centres.

- Poonam Bhojani, CEO of Innoventures Education

Poonam also founded Innoventures Education Training Academy (IVEITA), incorporated in 2017 to provide face-to-face, online and blended learning programmes to professionals across the Innoventures Education group of schools and early childhood centres.

It offers NCFE/CACHE, TQUK and IB professional development courses at all levels of the organisation, along with 15 mother tongue language programmes delivered across the group’s five schools.

Notably, it is one of the few KHDA-licensed centres providing the full suite of National Professional Qualifications for school leaders.

Poonam’s technology background and long years in a male-dominated field inspired her focus on STEM for girls. This led to Innoventures Education launching Girls in STEM programmes in each school – resulting in excellent STEM attainment by girls, scholarships and placements in first-choice universities.

Poonam motivated thousands of Innoventures Education students to achieve the Guinness record for the world’s largest space exploration lesson across multiple venues in October 2022.

Poonam has received honours such as Education CEO of the Year and Indian Female Entrepreneur of the Year by Arabian Business. Forbes ME recognised her as one of the 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen in the Middle East in 2023 and 2024. She has also served as President of Middle East IB Association and as the Secretary-General of Dubai Private Schools Group.