Shortly after graduating from NYU Abu Dhabi in 2014, Abdelrazak Al-Sharif was approached by Research Professor of Engineering and Managing Director of StartAD Ramesh Jagannathan to help build and run the Al Warsha lab for StartAD, a startup accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYUAD.
StartAD, then a newly founded Abu Dhabi based accelerator that supports startups to launch, develop, and scale their ventures, and was beginning to assemble its launch team. Jangannathan saw potential in Al-Sharif, whom he had mentored as an electrical engineering student and helped guide him towards filing two patents before graduating.
Professor Jagannathan thought Al-Sharif would be a great fit to set up and run Al Warsha, a creative and innovative space open to people of all levels to come and use the tools and equipment to build their own projects. Al-Sharif was onboard: He saw an opportunity to be part of a team to provide a platform to support creative ideas and innovators.
Ingrained in the DNA of Al Warsha lab is the principle of democratizing innovation by removing as many barriers as possible for having a space to create. As such, access to the lab is completely free. There, attendees can use a variety of tools such as the 3D printing, laser cutter, and circuit board printer to kick start building prototypes. Al-Sharif also held weekly workshops as an instructor to share technical knowledge and demonstrate the capabilities of certain equipment. StartAD also helped facilitate connecting startups with professors to consult on specific projects, “creating a link between the outside community and the NYUAD community when it comes to research and faculty,” Al-Sharif added.
Passionate about innovating, Al-Sharif encourages budding innovators to continue to stay curious, and not be afraid to take risks into the unknown. Afterall, taking a leap of faith into something new: from his college choice into his career path, has “brought me to where I am today for my career,” Al-Sharif said.