Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy arms almost 300 entrepreneurs across MENA with skills for success

Bringing the number of entrepreneurs trained in the UAE to over 130 for 2018


A third new partner, the Ministry of Youth Affairs’ Youth Hub in Dubai, hosted an innovative on-off Mobility and Future Transportation theme HFEA programme

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy enjoyed its most successful year in the region to date, training close to 300 entrepreneurs across six cities in three different countries.

United Arab Emirates
This year also marked a landmark first for HFEA, as tech-minded entrepreneurs took part in the very first Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy Future Transportation and Mobility workshop, piloted in collaboration with Dubai’s Youth Hub.

Not only was this the first-ever HFEA focussed on business ideas which have the potential to shape the future of mobility – impacting how people and goods move across all modes of transportation – but the unique workshop also offered 13 entrepreneurs unrivalled access to some of the industry’s prominent mentors, global and regional business leaders, and co-founders, of effective enterprises, including Ford Middle East and Africa President, Mark Ovenden.

Budding businessman Abdulla Al Ali, who pitched a software platform that better understands, predicts, and improves on current traffic solutions, emerged as the winner of a much sought-after, in-depth, consultancy from a premier US-based start-up strategy firm to help him get his business idea off the ground.

The distinctive Future Transportation and Mobility programme became the second HFEA workshop in Dubai, following The Entrepreneurship Journey workshop earlier in the year, also held in the city’s Youth Hub at Emirates Towers.

Bringing the number of entrepreneurs trained in the UAE to over 130 for 2018, HFEA visited both Ras Al Khaimah and the capital Abu Dhabi, each for the first time, in a continuation of the partnership between Ford and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT). The Entrepreneurship Journey workshops, which have now been hosted in four different Emirates, carry on the Ford Motor Company Fund’s long-standing commitment to empowering people in the UAE by providing better opportunities through education.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, Riyadh’s Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University joined Jeddah’s Effat University in hosting the HFEA in 2018. In expanding its partnerships in the Kingdom to include Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Ford brought together the excellence of far-reaching, continent-crossing educational institutions, as the United States’ Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Ireland’s Dublin City University (DCU) Business School both playing a major part in shaping the first Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy workshop held in Riyadh.

These Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy workshops were offered to complement Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a government plan for economic and social reform that empowers women with the aim of increasing their numbers in the workforce. Among directives recently announced by the Kingdom include a historical decision to allow Saudi women to open their own business* without the consent of a male guardian.

Over the course of three days in May, between Riyadh’s Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University and Jeddah’s Effat University, more than 70 aspiring businesswomen were trained in the art of entrepreneurship by HFEA instructors, and were offered an opportunity to fine-tune their entrepreneurial talents, with a view to creating a successful, thriving business.

Having previously guided young entrepreneurs in Rabat on The Entrepreneurship Journey, the HFEA’s return to Morocco this year added Casablanca to its list of host cities, with two separate workshops reaching more than 80 idea-laden students at University of Hassan II in the country’s largest city.

Entrepreneurship could be seen as a long-term channel for Moroccans to contribute to the country’s growth and development, lowering the unemployment rate. The three-day HFEA workshops were designed to empower youth to innovate, contributing to the welfare of the wider Moroccan community.

Throughout the sessions, held in May, and again in December, the HFEA provided a range of vital new skills, tools and the entrepreneurial mind-set needed to nurture creative ideas, assessing the feasibility of their plans, and helped the young entrepreneurial participants launch and grow new ventures.

“The Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy workshop provides an environment for aspiring businesspeople to experiment with their ideas in direct exchange with mentors and coaches, who offer invaluable experience,” said Simonetta Verdi, Director, Government and Community Relations, Ford Middle East and Africa.

“Importantly,” Verdi continued, “this unique programme also provides an opportunity to learn from people who have successfully navigated the entrepreneurship journey, and who can help build the courage the participants need to take on the business world with their own budding venture.”

The Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy workshops, together with the Ford Motor Company Fund and Virginia Commonwealth University, afford local future business leaders to excel in their endeavours, and influence them to think and act like entrepreneurs.

The Ford Motor Company Fund invests about one third of the funds in support of education, including scholarships and programmes that help schools offer students new approaches to learning. Since its launch in 2015, the Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy has trained close to 350 entrepreneurs across the Middle East and North Africa.

The Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy is part of Ford’s global commitment to providing access and opportunities for women. From its Driving Skills for Life for Her programme, to projects focussed on helping end human trafficking, as well as numerous initiatives that provide professional development and leadership training, globally Ford Fund has long supported programmes that help women succeed by overcoming social, educational and financial obstacles.

*As reported in The National


About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 200,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

Ford’s history in the Middle East goes back more than 60 years. The company’s local importer-dealers operate more than 155 facilities in the region and directly employ more than 7,000 people, the majority of whom are Arab Nationals. For more information on Ford Middle East, please visit www.me.ford.com.

Ford Middle East is also a responsible corporate citizen with currently three CSR initiatives running in the region including the Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants, Ford Warriors in Pink® breast cancer awareness campaign and Ford Driving Skills for Life safe driving awareness programme for young drivers and teens.


Sue Nigoghossian

MENA Communications

Ford Middle East & Africa

Rasha Ghanem

ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller





© Press Release 2018

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