Abu Dhabi expat start-up wins Dh100,000 flights on Emirates Airlines

Published:  4 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: India, UAE
Reflecting on the UAE’s vibrant start-up sector, the winners of the Gulf News Flying Colours competition were EZ Shade, selected for their innovative merit, social values and ethical business.

The top four start-ups were chosen from a field of over 300 entrants all competing to prove their ideas were backed by mobility, sustainability and the ability to connect minds, with the principles embedded in the emirates’ Year of Tolerance also under consideration by the judging panel. Also shortlisted along with EZ Shade were Reading Hub, HomeCycle and AquaBridge.

As well as providing a platform for expat start-ups in the UAE, the contest aimed to identify expat-run businesses along the lines of the pillars of the upcoming Expo 2020 – creativity, a vision for future growth and a unique concept. After EZ Shade’s confirmation as the winners, founder and CEO Brian Wholehan and his co-founder Alan Chu told reporters they’re going to use the free flights to expand awareness of their business internationally as well as nationally.

Runner up Reading Hub was the brainchild of Pakistani Sidra Jawad, with the mobile app used as a platform for selling pre-owned books, thus making reading financially available to all. HomeCycle’s clever recyclable waste collection service was praised for its Uber-style mobile app which incentivises recycling via the use of rewards. Indian CEO Mohammad Tabish’s Aqua Bridge features sustainable aquaculture in an effort to reduce pressure on other resources and reduce the emirates’ dependence on imported foodstuffs. The contest itself was a showcase of innovation by the UAE’s expat start-up community and its efforts to use innovative ideas to benefit its adopted country.
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