Helen Al Uzaizi: Nurturing Entrepreneurship at An Early Age

Youngsters develop self-assurance, creativity and innovation, proactiveness, as well as the ability to take calculated risks and to work together when entrepreneurship education is given to them. They figure out how to save, contribute and develop. These skills help them select and shape their profession as employees or business visionaries. Nurturing the entrepreneurship mindset in the next generation of youth in the Middle East led to the founding of BizWorld UAE.

BizWorld in the Middle East is led by CEO Helen Al Uzaizi primarily focuses on entrepreneurship education for children and youth between the ages of 7 and 15, developing their critical thinking, leadership, and teamwork skills. To date, BizWorld programs are being implemented in schools across 100 countries, and it had a great potential in the Middle East, where it would be a truly novel approach to nurturing kids’ entrepreneurial spirit and developing their leadership skills. It has fully Arabized the program to suit the region’s needs.

The Initiator

Helen has over 18 years of professional experience spanning marketing, advertising, non-profit management, business development, and entrepreneurship. As part of her extensive experience in various startups and seeing the need for developing an entrepreneurial mindset early on in the region, she founded the regional children’s entrepreneurship education platform, Future Entrepreneurs and also started working as CEO of BizWorld UAE, Egypt and Jordan (bizworlduae.org).

Promoting Entrepreneurship

Improving education and promoting entrepreneurship are the highest priorities for governments across the entire Middle East region, as these are the most effective solutions to the current unemployment and capacity building challenges.

Entrepreneurship is being taught and encouraged to students at the high school and university levels, however, at such a late stage, it is not expected that the entrepreneurial spirit to realistically take root. BizWorld in the Middle East is helping educational institutions strengthen their curriculums with entrepreneurship education programs and centers that will truly benefit and adequately prepare their students in the future economy.

Surpassing Adversities

According to Helen, BizWorld in the Middle East faced some challenges in getting the educational system to accept new changes and ideas when it comes to traditional curriculums. It was also a challenge to show parents why these life skills are important when traditionally, parents are used to sending their children to sports or music classes for extracurricular activities. However, many educational institutions are seeing the value of its programs and it is beginning to grow in a sustainable manner.

Driving Constant Innovation

BizWorld believes in constantly innovating its programs and activities. Recently, BizWorld has entered Silicon Valley to further expand the age group and the offering to include mentorship, incubation, and training of youth to give them the opportunity to seriously explore their entrepreneurial journey beyond just the theory. It is also incorporating real-world developments (in technology and business) to ensure their students are ahead of global trends.

Awards and Accolades

Since its inception, Helen has grabbed many awards.

  • Achieving Women Awards 2019 ‘Social Impact Award’ – Entrepreneur Middle East& RIISE
  • Best Social Enterprise – Arabian Business 2016
  • Ta’atheer Award for Best Social Enterprise / Impact Award 2017
  • Awarded Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Young Business Leaders Award 2013
  • Featured in Forbes Middle East 2013
  • 3x Marathon 42.19km finisher
  • 4x IronMan 70.3 finisher
  • Summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa and one of the 7 world summits
  • Speaker at major events and Ministerial conferences in France, Italy, UAE, Jordan
  • Delivering a talk featured on TEDx

Creating an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Within five years, BizWorld in the Middle East aims to incorporate the entrepreneurship component into curriculums in more schools, expand further regionally and have an annual scholarship award presented to the Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Additionally, it plans to implement:

  • Mentoring, incubation and support of entrepreneurial ideas
  • Online portal available with webinars for all educators and trainers
  • Downloadable curriculum support will be available
  • Social Impact Challenge: Children who have successfully completed the program will be invited to ‘give back’ to another child in a disadvantaged circumstance

Greater Purpose and Impact

Helen believes that it’s no longer enough to run a business for the sake of earning a profit. One must have a greater purpose in mind. Think of this purpose and what kind of impact one wants to make on the world then accordingly apply a business model to it.

Never Give Up

On a personal level, Helen believes in encouraging young people and women to overcome their boundaries and limits. According to Helen, her experience as an entrepreneur, CEO, triathlete and a mother have taught her many things. The biggest takeaway she would like to impart on others is the importance of perseverance. No matter what obstacles one has, one will only fail if he/she gives up. One has to keep getting back up and ultimately one will reach its goal.