On August 23, IDEA Lab at NYU Abu Dhabi hosted Abu Dhabi's first-ever Startup Grind event for local entrepreneurs. Startup Grind is a Google initiative that brings together seasoned and aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs for monthly “fireside” chats. There are Startup Grind chapters in more than 175 cities around the world.
During the inaugural Abu Dhabi event, attended by NYUAD students, members of the community, and business people, the director of the local chapter, Bern Shen, interviewed Majid Al Mail, Senior Manager of Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC), who gave an overview of his career and offered a few words of wisdom for those thinking about entering the startup ecosystem.
“Dream big, but stay humble," Al Mail said, adding that entrepreneurs are often willing to work 80 hours (for themselves) to not to work a 40 hour job.
Al Mail earned a chemical engineering degree in the US before taking on various positions in finance, risk management and strategy with GE Capital, Mubadala and GASCO. In his role at TDC, he is responsible for initiatives that support innovation and startups in the UAE. For example, he developed a competition called INNOVATOR, which takes place on the Corniche every March and invites inventors from around the UAE to display their work. This year, the competition attracted more than 8,000 visitors and featured inventors from all seven Emirates between 12 and 65 years old.
IDEA Lab plans to host future Startup Grind events, which are open to the NYUAD community and public.