Global Innovation Challenge

1,500 student innovators and entrepreneurs exhibited their tech solutions at the GEMS Global Innovation Showcase

The fourth edition of the region’s largest youth innovation and entrepreneurship exhibition took place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in February. The GEMS Global Innovation Showcase saw over 1,500 youth innovators across 400 teams present their high-tech solutions to global and corporate challenges.

Participating teams made the most of exponential technologies such as machine learning and data science to address some of the world’s most pressing issues across a range of topics including healthcare, education, disaster resilience and prosperity. Students exhibiting at the events, which were part of the annual Global Innovation Challenge, were shortlisted from a pool of 50,000 students across the GEMS Education network.

This year’s Global Innovation Challenge projects ranged from natural calamity warning drones (Team Natural Disaster Detective from GEMS Wellington International School) and sensor-loaded modular hydroponics-based micro-cultivation platforms for refugees (Team FoodOre from GEMS Modern Academy), to a smart watch catering to the needs of patients suffering from cognitive impairment such as dementia and Alzheimer’s (Team Neureno from GEMS New Millennium School – Al Khail).

The Cambridge High School, Abu Dhabi student Hriday Thakkar,
2019 Winner of the ENBD Challenge, presents his project Noon Z

The Dubai edition of the event was held at GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, while the Abu Dhabi edition was hosted by The Cambridge High School, which also welcomed Her Excellency Marcy Grossman, the Canadian Ambassador to the UAE. As well as 100 industry judges, some 3,500 visitors were in attendance across both events. The teams selected as finalists will be inducted into a two-month acceleration programme that includes personalised industry mentorship and entrepreneurship workshops covering design thinking, prototyping, business planning, marketing and pitching.

Winners will have the opportunity to attend a special two-week entrepreneurship bootcamp in July at the Ryerson Creative Academy GEMS Programme in Canada. Students will be flown to Ryerson’s main campus in Toronto, where they will participate in exclusive workshops, further develop their prototypes, join a community of entrepreneurs and be exposed to North America’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The workshops will cover topics such as design thinking, lean start-up, value proposition, market research, prototyping, brand identity, funding, marketing and IP. Teams will also receive immigration consulting and application review support.

GEMS Education has partnered with ecommerce giant Noon to set up the ‘GEMS Noon next challenge’, geared towards redefining the online shopping experience and increasing sustainability in logistics. GEMS Education students were given the chance to visit Noon’s headquarters and warehouse to better understand the online retail industry.

Her Excellency Marcy Grossman, Canadian Ambassador to the UAE

“The partnership between Ryerson Creative Academy and GEMS Education is a great example of how Canadian education institutions can support talented students from the UAE to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. GEMS students who participate in this programme in Toronto will have the opportunity to experience one of the most vibrant innovation ecosystems in North America.”

Canadian Ambassador to the UAE, Her Excellency Marcy Grossman
Michael Gernon leads GEMS X on behalf of GEMS Education

“The Global Innovation Challenge is one of the most spectacular highlights in the GEMS X calendar. To see what students are creating in solving some the world’s greatest challenges is truly extraordinary. Their understanding of the world of the future is exemplified through both the challenge and also the unique curriculum that every GEMS student is exposed to – an understanding of the impact of exponential technologies on future society.”

Michael Gernon, Chief Education Innovation Officer at GEMS Education, leads GEMS X, the R&D arm of the organisation