SHARJAH - The UAE’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF) 2024, is taking an immersive approach for its 7th edition on 3rd and 4th February, 2024, bringing together more than 150 visionary founders, industry leaders, investors, and emerging entrepreneurs.

Spanning nine specialised areas, it focuses on key sectors such as technology, creative economy, and sustainability, creating a dynamic platform for networking and innovation.

The event comprises five exclusive zones and four stages; within these dedicated zones, SEF 2024 will host more than 200 activities, including discussions, pitch competitions, performances, creative workshops, investor-investee networking sessions, and more. These specialised areas will present boundless opportunities for entrepreneurial engagement and innovation for the entire ecosystem and have been strategically designed around key streams of “impact”, “founders”, “community”, and “creativity”, offering founders, VCs, tech leaders, investors, aspiring entrepreneurs, and ecosystem enablers a vibrant platform to connect, learn, ideate, and scout the next big opportunity.

Speaking about the festival, Najla Al Midfa, CEO of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa), stated, “We have put a great deal of thought and effort into creating a truly immersive and empowering experience for all who will attend SEF 2024. Under our overarching theme of ‘Our Shared Canvas’, SEF 2024 will encapsulate the essence of collaborative innovation and collective impact. It is a powerful metaphor, illustrating how the diverse strokes of individual and collective efforts create a positive, sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

The five designated zones and four exclusive stages within each themed area at SEF 2024 are more than spaces. They have been designed as mini-ecosystems specialising in the key sectors of technology, creative economy, sustainability, and more. These vibrant spaces will host more than 150 renowned speakers and over 30 workshops on numerous topics of interest to both existing and emerging entrepreneurial talents. They feature more than 100 exhibiting start-ups, including tech-driven sustainability-focused founders, and more, enabling festival attendees to transform their ideas into opportunities, paving the way for limitless possibilities.

The Impact Stage Powered by Arada will host the opening ceremony and serve as the key platform for global and local speakers, shedding light on entrepreneurs' roles as business leaders and contributors to societal and global changes. Representing a melting pot of entrepreneurial sectors and communities, genuinely reflecting the SEF 2024 theme of “Our Shared Canvas,” this stage will provide valuable insight and inspiration from local and global thought leaders, giving a comprehensive window into the present and future business landscape.

True to the entrepreneurial spirit of SEF 2024, the Start-up Town, Powered By EMAAR, will feature exhibiting start-ups, the immersive “Sharjah Pavilion”, and the Founder Stage, which will host lively discussions on advanced technology, investment insights, artificial intelligence, and other topics that are shaping the business world. On this stage, the highly anticipated “Start-up Pitch Competition” will unveil the next significant entrepreneurial breakthroughs, while an Investors Lounge will enable aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to connect with potential investors and VCs, helping founders to gain crucial insights into scaling strategies and financial backing.

The Sustainability Zone — powered by Sharjah Sustainable City and BEEAH Group, and prime examples of eco-conscious ventures and enterprises — will champion activities and talks with an environmental theme. It will enable connections, collaboration, and discourse between those with an eco-progressive mindset, underscoring the importance of sustainability in entrepreneurship and highlighting the positive impact that innovative solutions can have on environmental and social issues.

The lively centrepiece of the festival, and SEF 2024’s designated space for live entertainment, the Creative Zone, will host an incredible lineup of more than 15 performers and entertainers on the Creative Stage. This is where renowned global and regional performers, filmmakers, content creators, and other creative pioneers will provide unforgettable entertainment throughout the festival.

Community Zone, featuring a Community Stage, will provide a perfect place to network and facilitate collaboration within the local and regional entrepreneurial and SME community. Through coworking spaces, start-up pods, and a dedicated workshop area, this zone will also provide a space for cross-pollination between like-minded SMEs, presenting a unique opportunity to gain knowledge, share expertise, and ideas, as well as a place to forge strong partnerships.

Finally, SEF 2024 is the ideal place to be inspired and see entrepreneurship in action. The Souq Zone is designed as an engaging market space to relax, try incredible food and refreshments, connect with other festival attendees, and show support for start-ups by shopping at their pop-up outlets featuring the latest in fashion, beauty, cosmetics, F&B, and more.

Organised by Sheraa, SEF 2024 is set to captivate audiences at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). Under the theme of “Our Shared Canvas,” this celebration of entrepreneurship promises an immersive experience and becomes a hub of ideas and opportunities.