Dunia’s second rendition of its award-winning and inspirational Young Business Leaders Program recently concluded at an exclusive convocation ceremony held at Raffles Dubai, Wafi.
The course saw 46 young students divided into teams, where they worked together to develop a detailed new venture business plan. As part of the three week program, the teams were able to tap into unique insight and inspiration from Dunia’s founding team and senior management, including: Rajeev Kakar, Managing Director & CEO of Dunia; Mariam Elsamny, Chief Marketing Officer; Ali Hurbas, Strategic Analytics Head; Muzaffer Hamid, Central Operations Head; Venu Parameshwar, Chief Financial Officer; and Krishnan Raman, Chief Risk Officer. A number of distinguished UAE and global business leaders from leading organisations such as du, KHDA, Bain & Company, PwC, and Ogilvy also took part, offering their valuable knowledge and experience to the students through lively discussions and training sessions.
Commenting, Mr. Rajeev Kakar, Managing Director and CEO of Dunia, said: “The resounding words of endorsement from the parents and the excitement on the faces of the youngsters said it all. I am delighted that the second year of our Young Business Leaders Programme has been such a resounding success. The group this year were bright, engaging, and talented young individuals and I hope that the program has instilled in them the importance of doing good, while doing good business. We are already looking forward to next year – the third rendition of the program.”
As part of the programme, the students embarked upon a number of team-building activities, including a visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, creating a TV commercial, and learning how to lead a high-performance team. There was also a dedicated session in the second week, where students and parents attended a unique leadership discussion with Rajeev Kakar, Managing Director and CEO of Dunia, to discuss the role of parents in shaping the young leaders.
Mr. Kakar added: “The parents’ session gave students’ parents the opportunity to get involved with the programme. Many of the parents are leaders in their own field, and so their input was another extremely valuable part of the course for all involved. All children are born with leadership potential. It is the role of parents, teachers, mentors, and the community to nurture them as leaders and bring out the best in them.”
The teams presented their final business plans to a panel of expert judges on the last day of the program, where they were critiqued on a number of aspects, including their financial viability and marketing strategy. The team crowned winners of the top prize at the convocation – the Dunia New Venture Business Plan Award – were “NYC Lockers”, a concept for a locker facility based in New York, with possible expansion opportunities into other cities.
Mihika Shivkumar, a member of the winning team, NYC Lockers, commented: “We were delighted when our business plan won the top prize! The Dunia Young Business Leaders Programme has been hard work, but incredibly rewarding at the same time. I look forward to applying the invaluable skills learnt here at Dunia to my studies, and into my future career.”
Mr. Venkatesh Mahadevan, father of Aditya Venkatesh, a student from this year’s program added: “The Dunia Young Business Leaders Program has given my son an insightful view into the world of business. His confidence is now backed by substance and he now thinks like an entrepreneur and aspires to become a great leader.”
Education and continual learning is one of the four key pillars of Dunia’s corporate social responsibility platform, Dunia Cares. On this platform, the company is able to support a range of good causes that seek to empower people, enrich lives, and enable success.