Sharjah: The 11th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) concluded its vibrant two-day agenda of discussions and activities with an inspirational panel session that explored the importance of communications in startups as a catalyst for economic and societal growth.

Moderated by Mohammed Al Raeesi, a media professional at Sharjah Broadcasting Authority,  the session titled ‘The Impact of Public Communication on Startups’ was convened in the backdrop of an increasingly growing number of UAE youth taking up entrepreneurship in recent years to fulfill their aspirations.

Speakers at the session included Mark Turnbull, strategic communications consultant; Mohamed Hilal Al Hazami, CEO of Mohamed Hilal Group; Prof Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, social entrepreneur and economist from Bangladesh; and Hazza Ibrahim Al Mansouri, entrepreneurship expert and media consultant. 

Speaking at the session, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus stressed the importance of inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset in classrooms, which, he said, is the key missing factor in today’s education system. 

The Bangladeshi entrepreneur who founded Grameen Bank, a micro-credit institution, said: “We are born as entrepreneurs with unlimited creative capacity. You cannot create a world dominated by jobs and driven by orders.’’

Emphasising the importance of cultivating an environment where entrepreneurs are encouraged to work on their ideas and attract investors, he told aspiring entrepreneurs at IGCF 2022: “Our interest lies in bringing your idea to fruition by providing you with financial support, and your success lies in building yourself up to be a job creator, not a job seeker.’’

Discussing the role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in driving economic change, Hazza Ibrahim Al Mansouri, media consultant and entrepreneurship expert, said: “A few  years ago, the words VR, Augmented Reality and 5G made us fear the future; but today, we are getting increasingly comfortable with these concepts as technology continues to reshape the way we learn, adapt and grow.”

He added that the enabling environment in the UAE is very encouraging for entrepreneurs, and it was imperative to find creative ways of using the art of communication to attract global investors.

Commenting on the importance of communications in government sectors, Mark Turnbull, senior communications consultant, said that the UAE relies on its self-belief and values to make bold statements through the art of communications in line with its ambitious vision of  becoming one of the best countries in the world in terms of economic and social development.

Turnbull emphasised the need for creating a culture that encourages youth into startups, and hailed the UAE as a prime example of driving entrepreneurial growth through a culture of celebrating startups and getting citizens involved in important conversations through events like the IGCF.

“This is how it all started — we sat around the campfire, telling stories to each other to make sense of this world,'' he said.

Thanking IGCF for building a platform that allows thought leaders and entrepreneurs to inspire change through their experiences, Mohamed Hilal, CEO of Hilal Group, said that “flipping the script and changing the question, as well as learning to communicate with yourself,’’ is crucial to entrepreneurial success.