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null Ministry of Economy launches ‘SkillUp Start’ program to develop national entrepreneurship landscape

21 Apr 2022

Ministry of Economy launches ‘SkillUp Start’ program to develop national entrepreneurship landscape


  • Program forms part of Entrepreneurial Nation initiatives aimed at enhancing diversity & resilience of the national economy


  • Launch in partnership with Emirates Schools Establishment and Bizworld


The Ministry of Economy launched the SkillUp Start program in partnership with the Emirates Schools Establishment (ESE) and Bizworld. The program is part of the SkillUp academy, which is one of the Entrepreneurial Nation initiatives that were recently launched by the Ministry of Economy. The Entrepreneurial Nation serves as an integrated national platform aimed at driving a qualitative shift in the UAE’s entrepreneurship, startup and SMEs landscape through the development of a supportive environment and strategic partnerships between the government and private sectors.

During the opening session of the virtual launch event, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, emphasized that the program is a powerful boost to entrepreneurship and SMEs as it comes with guaranteed ways to develop a supportive environment for these vital sectors. The initiative achieves this by enabling the participation of business incubators, local finance funds, and chambers of commerce to forge some of the largest and broadest strategic public-private partnerships.

H.E. said: “We are pleased to launch SkillUp Start as part of the Entrepreneurial Nation launched by the Ministry of Economy, in partnership ESE and in collaboration with Bizworld. This marks a new phase in the growth and prosperity of the entrepreneurship and SME sectors, which are vital pillars that enhance the diversity, resilience, and sustainability of the national economy. We are pleased to see the extensive participation of applicants between 8th to 12th grades as well as parents and teachers, who serve as ambassadors of the initiative at the UAE school-level. It reflects a great deal of awareness on the importance of acquiring and developing entrepreneurial skills and financial information, which are essential for professional and institutional success. These considerably expand future prospects for our students in line with our wise leadership’s vision to support and empower young people and enhance their contribution and involvement in the national economic development, given their potential roles as essential drivers of sustainable growth and leaders for the future economy.”

H.E. Al Falasi added: “Through the program, we seek to instill an entrepreneurial culture and mindset in our students, provide them with leadership and creative skills, and inculcate the principles of teamwork. These efforts will enable them to play a pivotal role in the realization of the ambitious national vision for the future and the economic initiatives of the ‘Fifty Economic Plan’ announced by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The program relies on global best practices and methodologies to keep pace with future needs in line with our leadership's forward-looking vision, inspired by the Principles of the 50, which serve as a reference for all national institutions. It also serves as a clear roadmap for the UAE's new development phase, driven by limitless ambition and determination to reach new levels of excellence and leadership and to excel in all global indicators of growth, competitiveness, and innovation, thereby establishing the UAE among the world's best countries for life and work.”


Meanwhile, H.E. Jamila bint Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Foundation for School Education, confirmed that the Foundation is working on developing students’ entrepreneurship mindset by empowering them with the most important ideas and tools to move forward in this field.

H.E. Al Muhairi further explained that the UAE is a leading global destination in the field of entrepreneurship, and this necessitates that we work to empower students in this field. It will help make their future career paths more successful and provide them with valuable opportunities to realize their ambitions and aspirations and benefit from the facilities and suitable environment provided by the UAE in this aspect.

In addition, she pointed out that the Foundation, through its partnership with various government entities and institutions, follows the directions of the wise leadership and its future aspirations by striving to inculcate diverse knowledge and skill sets in students. She indicated that these efforts align with national interests in various fields including economy, and helps sustain the growth and development of all vital sectors in the country.

H.E. Al Muhairi added that the UAE’s educational system is integrated with various sectors in order to prepare upcoming generations for future careers in these fields. Furthermore, efforts have been undertaken to develop students' skills and guide them in the right directions so that they excel in various vital sectors that are key to maintaining the UAE’s global competitiveness and leadership.

Apart from H.E. Al Falasi, and H.E. Jamila Al Muhairi, representatives of BizWorld, and other partner entities also took part in the virtual opening session. It featured a comprehensive presentation on the program, the basics of entrepreneurship, skills and terminology, and ways to benefit from the solutions and services provided by SkillUp Start, especially workshops and interactive practical training designed to enable participants to create virtual companies that simulate reality.

The SkillUp Start program, which targets UAE students from grade 8 to 12 of all nationalities, witnessed the registration of 900 school students and volunteers from across the country. The program is divided into three categories, namely the Student Program, Volunteer Program and Teachers Program and make them ambassadors of the Entrepreneurial Nation. The "Student Program" category focuses on teaching the skills needed to establish and run companies, apart from other skills of the 21st century. It also includes lessons on entrepreneurs, companies, financial responsibility, focused and critical thinking, and leadership and creativity, under the supervision of some of the most prominent specialists and trainers in this sector. The program also includes the "Young Entrepreneur Award" and the "People’s Choice Award".

Similarly, the ‘Volunteer Program’ category targets young citizens and residents of the UAE within the 18-35 age group and prioritizes the youth working in the fields of entrepreneurship and SMEs. This program offers many benefits, including membership in the Entrepreneurial Nation’s network of ambassadors, opportunity to participate in the initiative’s events and a participation certificate, as well as the opportunity to provide mentorship to students and young entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, the ‘Entrepreneurial Nation Ambassadors’ Program category is for teachers, and its benefits include membership in the Entrepreneurial Nation’s network of ambassadors and a participation certificate. It also offers the chance to participate in the Entrepreneurial Nation events sponsored by the ministers, in addition to the opportunity to participate in an educational trip to Silicon Valley in the United States.

SkillUp Start is one of the four tracks of SkillUp’s first phase. Another track is SkillUp Enable, which aims to instill business management and development skills in entrepreneurs who own micro-enterprises and enable them to optimize the management and sustainability of their projects. The third one is SkillUp Compete, which features competitions for all members of the society in order to develop and highlight their creative startup ideas and to select the best projects that will receive integrated support to continue their entrepreneurship journey. The fourth track is SkillUp Experience, which provides opportunities to benefit from entrepreneurship experiences and gain a deeper understanding of the startup ecosystem through internships, fellowship programs, and other similar programs.

The SkillUp academy stands out as a key initiative aimed at equipping ambitious people with the necessary skills to enhance their prospects for success in the world of entrepreneurship. The Academy’s efforts focus on building an entrepreneurial mindset in children from early years to produce a new generation of young people with pioneering ideas and a future outlook. It provides a stimulating environment for practicing entrepreneurship, as well as empowering citizen and resident entrepreneurs by empowering them with modern entrepreneurial skills and methods, and preparing them to assume their role as experienced leaders of high growth companies.

SkillUp is one of the Entrepreneurial Nation’s three main programs, in addition to StartUp and ScaleUp. The Ministry of Economy recently announced the launch of the Entrepreneurial Nation initiatives in line with its efforts to implement the economic initiatives of the Fifty Economic Plan. The Plan was launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during his visit to MoE last June, establishing a new economic phase centered on promoting innovation and supporting and enabling entrepreneurial projects and SMEs.


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