MBSC launches the “University Innovation Challenge” With its Partners
King Abdullah Economic City, 14 November 2021: In line with its keenness to support sustainable innovation practices and address global sustainability challenges, the Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College (MBSC) of Business & Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with the UNDP Saudi office, the Ministry of Education (MoE), and the Babson Global Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (BGCEL), has launched the ‘University Innovation Challenge’ for university students.
Launched during the 2021 Global Entrepreneurship Week and organized at the national level, the Challenge aims to develop entrepreneurial mindsets among young students by inspiring them to find innovative solutions to global challenges. Teams of final-year undergraduate university students in Saudi Arabia will develop and pitch their innovative solutions to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the competition. Each team will be comprised of three to five final-year undergraduates working on for-profit or non-profit concepts to build a better future by advancing one or more of the UN SDGs.
Commenting on the event, Prof. Zeger Degraeve, the Executive Dean of MBSC, said that the initiative supports the College’s efforts to develop Saudi students as entrepreneurial leaders and managers. “As the first business and entrepreneurship College in Saudi Arabia and a key driver of entrepreneurship education in the Kingdom, MBSC is committed to enriching the quality and competencies of our students and developing them as global citizens. By launching this initiative, we aim to consolidate our position as an integral part of the Saudi entrepreneurship ecosystem and a strong partner for the leading players in the sector,” he said.
Prof. Haya Al-Dajani, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of MBSC’s Executive MBA Signature Learning Experience, and the University Innovation Challenge leader from MBSC said: “The university-led, student-driven challenge provides young Saudi students with a unique opportunity to develop innovative ideas to address the challenges faced by their communities. By launching this exciting initiative, MBSC aims to promote collaboration and fresh thinking among the student community to increase their global exposure and empower them to tackle major challenges. The Challenge also strengthens the role of MBSC as a key contributor to achieving the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives of supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs.”
Dr. Motaz Al-Solaim, the General Manager of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Department in the Research and Innovation Deputyship at the Saudi Ministry of Education and the Challenge leader at the MoE, said: “We look forward to seeing Saudi students strengthen their innovative mindset and entrepreneurial drive, in line with the Vision 2030 objectives that aim to empower young Saudi nationals and provide them with opportunities to ensure their active participation in national sustainable development. The innovative concepts of the nation’s youth will have a profound impact on our earnest efforts to achieve the UN SDGs.”
The UNDP Resident Representative for Saudi Arabia, Dr. Adam Bouloukos, said that the Challenge will inspire Saudi youth to develop their own innovative solutions to grand challenges and ensure the Kingdom’s consistent progress on the path of sustainability. “By facilitating the participation of the younger generation in finding answers to sustainability challenges, we are inspiring them to think about the future of their communities,” he explained.
David Abdow, President and CEO of Babson Global, said that Babson Global Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (BGCEL) is pleased to support the initiative to empower Saudi Arabia’s future generation of problem-solvers and innovators by giving them the opportunity to tackle some of the real challenges facing their communities. “I am confident that the young students of the Kingdom will use this opportunity to strengthen their ties and advance their entrepreneurial leadership skills,” he added.
The University Innovation Challenge will be launched nationally on November 14th, 2021. The participating teams are required to attend a series of expert webinars during December 2021 and January 2022, organized to familiarize them with the UN SDGs and their economic, environmental, and social pillars, as well as the importance of innovating for humanity and the art of pitching.
Each university will organize and host a ‘presentation day’ during February 2022 for the participating students to present their ideas before a panel of judges at their university. The top performers will be selected for the national final round, marking the conclusion of the first stage of the competition. The final national round involves a three-day boot camp at MBSC, and the winners will be announced on 26 March 2022, following their final pitches at the boot camp.
The prizes for the final winners of the University Innovation Challenge will be announced at the end of the first stage of the competition. All participating students will receive certificates of participation at the end of the first stage. The students completing the boot camp at MBSC will receive certificates acknowledging them as the finalists of the national contest. Universities are highly encouraged to form teams comprising students from different academic backgrounds to foster a multidisciplinary approach to developing novel solutions.
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The Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business & Entrepreneurship (MBSC) is a private higher education institution for both men and women located in King Abdullah Economic City. It was established in 2016 through an international partnership between Emaar The Economic City, Babson Global (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Babson College, USA), and Lockheed Martin under the umbrella of the Economic Offset Program in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The college is also supported by its partnership with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (MiSK).
Through an educational program focused on hands-on experiential learning that is practical and pragmatic, MBSC is developing a new generation of transformative leaders who think creatively and act boldly. As the Kingdom experiences a great socioeconomic transformation, it needs leaders who can recognize and shape opportunities. MBSC programs are designed to meet this need by creating managers and Entrepreneurs of All Kinds (EAK®).