Youth Entrepreneurship Program's Winners Announced

SolarGridX, a platform allowing individuals to own and earn ROI through solar panels, won first place

Press Release

startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and powered by its partner Tamkeen, has today announced the winners of its Youth  Entrepreneurship  Program. The three-month program, which initially kicked off during UAE Innovation Week, supports university students between the ages of 18-25 to advance tech-enabled startup projects.  

The winners were selected following the presentation of 17 ventures to an esteemed judging panel in an online, public showcase event this week. Three projects were recognized and rewarded with cash prizes worth USD 5,000. SolarGridX, a platform that allows  individuals to own and earn ROI through solar panels, won first prize of USD 3,000. Finllect, a financial literacy app, was awarded second prize worth USD 1,500. BestBy, an e-commerce platform that fights food waste by monitoring and providing sellers and customers access to food items close to best-by dates at discounted prices, won third prize worth USD 500. Lastly, EdTech startup, Jagged, was nominated for Sandooq Al Watan’s National Impact Award.

“The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) is proud to support the startAD Youth Entrepreneurship Program for the third consecutive year. Over the past two editions, we have seen some very impressive projects that have reinforced our belief in our youth as our hope for a better tomorrow.”

Minister of Climate Change and Environment His Excellency Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi

A total of 67 youth entrepreneurs from eight universities across the UAE advanced tech-enabled startup projects ranging from innovative EdTech platforms and wearable devices to aid children with autism, to a creative, tech-enabled hardware tool to teach DNA sequencing and a tokenized solar energy investment platform. 

Acting Director General of Sandooq Al Watan His Excellency Ahmed Mahmoud Fikri said: “We at Sandooq Al Watan are very proud to support the Youth Entrepreneurship Program of startAD. We are also proud of the progress made by the young entrepreneurs over the past 10 weeks, especially as they adapt to a new way of collaborating remotely. Our National Impact Awards aims at supporting Emirati entrepreneurs in developing and growing their technology startups and we are happy to announce the award nominee, Jagged.”


“Congratulations to the well-deserved winners of this year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Program. Entrepreneurial disruption is now more essential than ever before as the world undergoes the duress of tackling a global pandemic, technology disruptors will rise to play a critical innovator role as we look to the future and its inevitable economic upturn. Aligned with the UAE vision 2071, our mission at startAD will continue to be, and always has been, to support early-stage startup ventures by acting as a catalyst to disrupt industries that contribute to the growth of the local economy.”

startAD Managing Director and NYUAD Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ramesh Jagannathan

Over the last three years, more than 150 young entrepreneurs have incubated their projects at startAD. The program trains the teams to develop entrepreneurial skills and processes, apply them to their startup projects, matches teams with expert mentors, and also offers teams opportunities to drive partnerships with leading institutions. This year, the program received over 200 applications and accepted 17 high-quality teams from eight universities in the UAE, 18 percent of which were founded by UAE Nationals.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.