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The UAE's Ministry of state for Higher Education, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, the ICT Fund, Dubai Investments, and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry have partnered with Huawei to launch Seeds for the Future 2018 Program, an educational challenge that offers university students a platform to present their ideas and turn them into viable projects.

His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, Engineer Omar Al Mahmoud, Acting CEO of ICT Fund in TRA, Mr. Essa Al Zaabi, Senior Vice President of the Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ahmed Al Shared, Group Manager, Operations, Dubai Investments, as well as David Wang, CEO of Huawei UAE, attended the opening ceremony of the 2018 program on 4 January.

Over 150 projects from the UAE are expected to be presented at Seeds for the Future, each with the potential to be selected for incubation. The initiative aims to develop Information and Communication Technology (ICT) talent among Emirati students who will become tomorrow's leaders. They will also receive focused mentoring from top Huawei executives and a chance to travel to Huawei's global headquarters in Shenzhen, China, to gain exposure to one of the world's leading ICT solutions providers.

This year, Seeds for the Future Program is extending its outreach to 10+ leading universities across the UAE, expanding from 5 universities in the past year. "I would like to thank Huawei for the opportunity to once again support Seeds for the Future, an important initiative that enables closer ties between the private sector and university students in the UAE," stated HE Dr. Ahmad.

"I am delighted this year's program will see greater participation from universities across the country, allowing more students to showcase their technology skills and innovative ideas," HE Dr. Ahmad added. "The ICT sector is key to the UAE's transition to a competitive knowledge-based economy and initiatives such as Seeds for the Future help foster the entrepreneurial thinking among our youth necessary to drive our sustainable growth and development."

Essa Al Zaabi, Senior Vice President of the Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "Dubai Chamber is proud to be associated with this unique initiative and I look forward to learning about the innovative ideas and projects that the participants come up with, and offering support to talented students through training and hands-on experience, as well as networking and access to career opportunities." 

Al Zaabi added, "The Chamber's support for the competition falls in line with the non-profit public organisation's strategy which aims to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among youth in the UAE, and encourage students to develop their skill sets and turn their ideas into a reality."

Engineer Omar Al Mahmoud, Acting CEO of ICT Fund in TRA, said: "Since its launch in September 2016, the initiative has achieved successive successes through the innovations of university students. One has invented a smart cane for the blind, able to alert the user of surrounding obstacles, another has invented a smart system for vehicles, which alerts drivers about the safe driving distance and tracks violators, and many other bright examples."

He added, "The students also traveled to the People's Republic of China, to Huawei's headquarters, as part of a professional training program to refine their skills and broaden their knowledge. They have applied the saying: seek knowledge, even if you have to go as far as China." 

Al Mahmoud added: "I conclude with these inspiring words 'The Year of Zayed'. The name of our father 'Zayed' is marked in our hearts. Our country is on the rise, and we are united among all segments of society in the public and private sectors, industry, education, people and leadership. We are united as the name of our country 'United Arab Emirates'. The first founders are the pioneers of our renaissance, their stories and lessons inspire us for the future, and how to achieve everything from nothing, with the seeds for the future."

"We are proud to continue our flagship global CSR program in the UAE and offer students with outstanding abilities and bright ideas the opportunity to develop their skills and become tomorrow's ICT leaders," said David Wang, CEO of Huawei UAE.

"Huawei's mission is to work with government partners to develop a robust ICT ecosystem, and a core element of this agenda is to support and nurture young ICT talent. We hope that Seeds for the Future will not only develop the digital abilities of the UAE's top students, but also give them access to organizations and funding that will allow them to develop technologies that will help the UAE reach the targets outlined in its Vision 2021."

Launched in 2008, "Seeds for the Future" is Huawei's flagship CSR program that aims at cultivating local ICT talent, promoting knowledge transfer, improving people's interest in and understanding of the ICT industry, and encouraging countries and regions to participate in the building of digital communities.

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