Friday 29 September 2023 - 12:18:28 am

SEF 2020 to unveil proven ways to drive change and deliver impact

SHARJAH, 29th November 2020 (WAM) - With an internationally-renowned line-up of more than 50 speakers comprising the world’s leading ethologist, a Nobel laureate, social entrepreneurs, CEOs, and life coaches, the region’s fastest growing festival celebrating entrepreneurs – the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF) organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), will open in a unique virtual format spread over five days from December 6 – 10.

The fourth edition of Sheraa’s annual flagship event will be free to attend and held fully online. The five-day festival agenda will include ten knowledge-sharing panel discussions, five interactive workshops, and nine inspiring keynote sessions.

Held under the theme, #BeTheHero, SEF seeks to motivate and inspire more socially conscious entrepreneurs to make an impact on their communities and build a better future together. Bringing together and celebrating the changemakers, SEF has opened its virtual doors to target a global audience of young changemakers, ecosystem leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Learn from the most powerful voices of change SEF 2020 will deliver a full programme of inspiration and motivation to anyone across the globe as the event goes online for the first time ever.

Day 1: Making an impact Following the opening keynote addresses by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson, and Najla Al Midfa, CEO, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center – Sheraa, legendary changemakers will lead the panel sessions on Day 1 to underline what it takes to make meaningful impact.

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate 2006 and Founder, Grameen Bank; Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO, Acumen; Badr Jafar, CEO, Crescent Enterprises and President, Crescent Petroleum; are the distinguished panelists for ‘The Butterfly Effect: How Everyone can be a Changemaker’. Moderated by Muna Al Gurg, Director of Retail, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, the session will explore how new challenges can spur creative solutions and how even the smallest idea combined with intent, introspection, and determination can be a transformative source of positive change.

The speaker line up for ‘Conscious Capital: Investing in the Next Generation of Changemakers’ features Anousheh Ansari, CEO, Xprize, and first female private space explorer; Dimple Sahni, Managing Director, Impact Funds Portfolios - Anthos Fund and Asset Management; and Ned Tozun, CEO and founder of d.light. Sonia Weymuller, Founding Partner, VentureSouq, will moderate the session.

The third session of the day titled ‘Building Startup Ecosystems That Nurture Heroes’ is led by Dina H Sherif, Executive Director, Legatum Centre for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT and co-founder, Ahead of the Curve.

In the Fireside Chat session titled ‘Our Future: A Collective Responsibility’, HE Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DGR), will engage in a stimulating conversation with Jane Goodall, Ethologist and Conservationist.

Day 1 will conclude with the announcement of the winners of the UCAN Startup Awards, launched earlier this year by Sheraa in partnership with the Ubuntu Love Challenge. Four winners who have accelerated the development of unique healthtech and foodtech solutions will share key insights into their startup journeys.

Day 2: Find your edge In a 90-minute coaching session titled ‘Money and Abundance: The Tipping Point’, Energy Healer and Mindset Coach Silfath Pinto will unveil her thoughts on how money is an energy and prosperity, a mindset, as she discusses how the subconscious experiences generated between 0 and 7 years old affects one’s capacity to create an abundant life.

She will also reveal surprising mindset shifts to be a successful entrepreneur and define success on one’s own terms in the second workshop, ‘The Entrepreneur Edge: Fundamental Mindset Shifts’.

Day 3: Evolve the self The School of Life, an educational organisation helping people to lead more fulfilled lives, will conduct three workshops that focus on understanding oneself better.

In ‘Collective Heroism’, coach and consultant Susan Kahn will outline how through effective communication and constructive dialogues, organisations can harness the power of collaboration while in ‘The Emotionally Intelligent Entrepreneur’, Community Impresario Monica McCarthy will explore the meaning and benefits of emotional intelligence and ways of developing the key emotional skills required to prosper at work and in life.

Life coach and writer Fiona Buckland will deliver the concluding workshop, ‘Leading Through Change’ and discuss different pathways to fostering a more agile and adaptive culture within the workplace.

Day 4: Transformation tribe The Day 4 agenda is devoted to three keynote addresses by world-renowned masters in productivity and personal growth to enable the virtual audience to tap into their full potential.

Vishen Lakhiani, entrepreneur, author, and founder of Mindvalley; Emily Fletcher, international speaker, author, and founder of Ziva Meditation; and Keith Ferrazzi, Chairman and founder of Ferrazzi Greenlight; will deliver these keynote sessions.

Day 5: Changemakers united Six Fireside Chat sessions and two panel discussions featuring young global leaders who are developing solutions to the world’s urgent issues form the highlight of the agenda on the concluding day of SEF 2020.

Co-founders of One Young World, Kate Robertson (CEO) and David Jones, will converse on ‘Mobilising the World’s Most Impactful Leaders’ while Indonesia’s Iman Usman, co-founder of, an award-winning tech-enabled education provider, will offer insights into ‘Transforming the Education Sector’.

In ‘Scaling Without Compromising Profit Over Purpose’, New Zealand’s Brianne West, Founder and CEO of Ethique, will discuss her business journey that led to the creation of the world’s most sustainable lifestyle and beauty brand.

Svanika Balasubramanian, founder of rePurpose, will talk of ‘Creating a Generation of Conscious Consumers’ to help reduce the 26 million tonnes of plastic that end up in landfills and the 8 million tonnes of plastic that find their way into our oceans each year; while social entrepreneur Pratik Gauri who champions UN SDGs in India, will describe ways to build purpose-businesses from bottom up in ‘Leading the 5th Industrial Revolution’.

Eric Dawson, CEO and co-founder of Peace First, will moderate the sixth Fireside Chat with Amanda Hayder, founder of Let's Talk Peace, and two of his colleagues, Tahmid Islam, Fellow-in-Residence (UK and Europe) and Yousra Mshmsh, Fellow-in-Residence (MENA) as they share stories, insights, and advice for starting and sustaining authentic, youth-led social change initiatives.

Hebah Fisher, CEO and co-founder of Kerning Cultures will moderate the first panel discussion ‘First Time Founders Lifetime Heroes’ with Amna Aljarwan, co-founder, KnackLab; Siddiq Farid, CEO and founder, SmartCrowd; Mohammed Aziz, co-founder, Dapi; and Mashal Waqar, Co-founder and COO, The Tempest; while Maya Rahal, Managing Director of MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, will moderate the second session, ‘The Heroes of Beirut’, with Omar Itani, General Manager of FabricAID, and Marianne Bitar Karam, Managing Director, B.O.T.

To be a part of the region’s largest festival celebrating entrepreneurs, and to stay updated on the festival agenda, interested participants can follow SEF 2020 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn @SharjahEF, or visit the website,

Held every year since 2017, the aim of this festival is to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset and inspire the next generation of changemakers. Over the years, SEF has seen 200+ showcasing startups, 240+ local and international speakers, and 8,000+ attendees.

WAM/Hassan Bashir