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Strathclyde in Dubai – a platform for the future!

By Samir Thakran - Posted on 26 March 2013

Strathclyde Business School has several international centres around the world including Dubai. Here Samir Thakran, Managing Partner at African Hospitality Capital Management explains his experience of this growing network…

2012 was a great year for me. Why? It was the year I graduated and marked the culmination of my learning and experiences at Strathclyde Business School. Or so I thought but your learning experience never really stops. Having moved to Glasgow to study from the United Arab Emirates I returned to Dubai after graduation. Strathclyde Business School has operated a business school in Dubai for many years now and has strong ties to a place which I now call home.

Strathclyde has a growing reputation in Dubai and recently launched the Strathclyde 100 (S100) event which is designed to encourage entrepreneurial business ideas. Having taken part in similar activities in Glasgow I was approached by the university to see if I would make a pitch as part of the first event. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Dubai Alumni group and Catherine Demangeot (Senior Lecturer at Strathclyde UAE) taking the lead to organise such a fantastic gathering. The S100 brings together alumni, academics and professionals who are presented to by a number of start-up businesses which have been pre-screened by Strathclyde. The objective is to see if members of the S100 can assist, mentor, connect and/or finance entrepreneurs.

Prior to arriving at the venue I was unsure how applicable our business model was for the platform but was encouraged after speaking to the organisers and the attendees to talk at length about our business and the progress we’ve made so far. The presence of some senior local business executives and His Excellency the UAE Minister for Environment and Water, Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, made the event all the more special.

The idea was to present the opportunity to a business savvy audience, receive invaluable feedback and network with potential associates. The event exceeded our expectations and there were very interesting conversations following the presentations. We were fortunate in that we have already secured funding for our venture but the event was still extremely useful. There were people from varied backgrounds providing feedback from different perspectives with almost everyone appreciating the business plan and our progress so far, which made it even better for us and further reinforced our belief in the business model.

In my opinion this was an excellent start to what will become a regular feature of the University’s local calendar. This will encourage both current students and alumni to come forward to present their business ideas and will result in serving as a platform for start-ups to kick start from. This will also significantly increase the interaction between the university and industry benefiting the overall cause of internationalising Strathclyde while contributing to the growth of Dubai.

One last point I would like to emphasise is the fact the Alumni of a University have an equally if not more important role as the researchers, academics and the current students to ensure the University attains its due place on the global scene. Institutions are considered great if they produce great people but if those people don’t come forward and let the world know their roots then institutions will never benefit.

Are you an SBS alumnus, working in the UAE? Did you attend the Strathclyde 100? What else do you think business school's could do to promote industry in Dubai and Abu Dhabi? Let us know in the comments below.

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