Samsung Gulf Electronics unveils ‘launching people’ campaign
Tech-giant launches competition with $35,000 prize money to get ideas off the ground
January 22, 2014 2:42 by Sidra Tariq
Samsung Gulf Electronics will help kick-start four innovative ideas though practical, financial and technical support in its latest campaign, ‘launching people’. The technology company has invited the public to share ideas across four categories – fashion, invention, start-ups and education – to have the chance to transform their ideas into reality. Each winner will receive financial assistance of up to $35,000 to get his/her idea off the ground.
The initiative was first introduced by Samsung in France and has been rolling out across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East region and Africa. The regional campaign is open to applicants from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Yemen until March 3, 2014.
A mentor has been assigned for the winner of each category, who will provide guidance in getting the idea off the ground along with technical and practical support from Samsung. The mentors include Reema Al Banna, founder of designer label Reemami, for the fashion category; Mohammed Saeed Harib, creator of the animated series Freej, for invention; Fadi Malas, CEO of restaurant chain Just Falafel, for start-ups; and Dino Varkey, group COO of GEMS Education for the education category.
“We believe the best support we are offering is the opportunity to work with the mentors,” says Marco Vocale, head of corporate marketing at Samsung Gulf. “If correctly leveraged, they will offer a lifelong asset. The mentor support can stretch from simple advice, [such as] avoiding pitfalls, to sharing their network and useful contacts.”
After the application deadline, the proposals will be evaluated by a jury comprising Samsung officials and the mentors. Eight finalists will be announced on March 19 and the competition will open up for public voting to select one winner for each category until April 9. “There will be a few weeks during which the winners will work with the mentors, receiving the necessary coaching, putting down the business plan, doing the necessary investments, and then within two or three months we plan […] to share the results of those four ideas,” says Vocale.
He adds that the intellectual property and ownership of the project will remain with the winners: “Samsung is only an enabler. The interest of Samsung at this point is not really to co-invest or own part of the business.”
Until now, two projects have been proposed on the application webpage, www.launchingpeople.ae. One proposes launching a phone which charges itself by having a solar panel installed. Another project submitted by a software engineer and a mother of two suggests developing a smart app or device that will “monitor, instruct and guide the kids when they are playing or while doing homework, and to alert the parent when they are going wrong.”