Growing Global Thinkers

The Global Innovation Challenge is one of the world’s largest youth engagement programmes for innovation and entrepreneurship

The Global Innovation Challenge (GIC), run by GEMS Education, invites GEMS students from around the world to submit ideas that will leverage exponential technologies. Selected students are taken through an eight-month development journey where GEMS, Singularity University (SU) in California and partners deliver workshops on design thinking, exponential technologies, user testing, prototyping, marketing, business planning and pitching. The GIC culminates in a demo day where shortlisted teams present to a panel of judges that include futurists, investors and entrepreneurs. The top three teams are awarded a free trip to San Francisco, plus exhibition and presentation opportunities at the SU Global Summit in August.

“Attended by 2,000 people from 64 countries, the Singularity University Global Summit in San Francisco brings together the world’s leading futurists, organisations, start-ups and individuals to solve global challenges. Our three teams of GEMS students were the only school exhibitors present at the Summit, where they were able to meet corporates, investors and other start-ups, and enjoy constructive discussions about mentorship, collaboration, sales and even investment. Their ambitions and tangible solutions were given credibility by the interest and support provided by leading experts and cutting-edge companies. The GIC hopes to inspire and nurture more students to channel their potential towards solving global issues.” Karan Deep, Head of Innovation and Partnerships, GEMS Education

Winning GIC teams

The last few seasons of GIC have seen five student teams go on to work with leading public and private organisations to develop their products, with four teams applying for patents and one team that has already brought their product to market. The 2018-19 GIC saw the following three exceptional teams present their solutions at the SU Global Summit:



Three girls from GEMS New Millennium School – Al Khail presented a wearable bracelet to enhance women’s security with a GPS tracker, emergency notification system and a mild taser. SHERO also created an app to lend a voice to a community of assault victims and connect them with psychologists to help alleviate their trauma.

“My life changed for a greater good when I was selected as a finalist competing against 33,000 students at the GIC. The weekly mentoring session and the bootcamp hosted by GEMS before the demo day helped us polish our skills and encouraged us to win. The mentoring session by Mr Karan Deep [Head of Innovation & Partnership at GEMS] and Mr Zev [from Singularity University] evolved our thought process from that of a student to and entrepreneur.

At the Global Summit, I had the privilege to showcase my obsession for SHERO to a dynamic audience of innovators, industry heads, students and investors.

Aastha Das, SHERO Founder and CEO, together with Priya Sadhu and Amritha Kondapalli

Aastha Das is now taking SHERO forward on her own after winning the Best Gen-Z Startup Award, part of the GITEX Future Stars Supernova Challenge, earning a cheque for USD10,000.



Four boys from Our Own English High School – Boys, Sharjah presented an AI-powered visual aid (glasses plus an app) for the visually impaired. This aid leverages machine-learning to identify and relay emotions, identify personal objects and offer indoor navigation and mapping.

The opportunity to present our product to an international audience was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The summit has opened up limitless possibilities for the future of our product. While we gained valuable feedback, we were also shown alternate paths where our technology could be used to make an impact. Attending the summit also opened our eyes to the era of technology that we live in and how fast industries like AI and blockchain are spreading their wings. The experience undoubtedly pushed us out of our comfort zone, but for the greater good. Following the feedback from innovators, we are continuing to work on our project to bring our vision of helping 285 million visually-impaired people to life.

Ahsan Nayaz, Vraj Rajpura, Aryan Krishnan and Mrudul Mamtani

Smart Bandages

Smart Bandages

Two boys from GEMS Millennium School, Sharjah were inspired by their diabetic uncle to create a sensor-loaded, bio-compatible bandage for chronic wounds. Sensors track moisture and heat levels, so the patient knows when to change their dressing, contributing to faster healing and a reduction of waste.

It was a privilege for us to showcase Smart Bandages on an international platform. Having a prototype helped us a lot, as we could give visitors to our stall an idea of what our future project would look like. The second day was also huge for us, as we had to showcase our product on a stage in front of CEOs, executives and Singularity University staff. We were able to clarify questions about the project through a Q&A session. On the third day, visitors and investors came to our stall where we could provide them with more indepth information. We also shared our brochures and business cards. There were many other projects at the Summit that inspired us. We are extremely thankful to GEMS for their mentorship and guidance.

Mohammed Ismail Sadaf and Hisham Abubacker Musthafa