Ambitious young entrepreneurs are being given the opportunity to hone their skills and benefit from the advice of established business people through StartupSBA, a student initiative within the American University of Sharjah’s (AUS) School of Business Administration.
AUS’ budding entrepreneurs can also benefit from StartupSBA’s mentoring sessions, which help students prepare for entrepreneurship competitions, including the well-known Hult Prize and the Pitch Competition of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). One beneficiary is AUS student Aaron James Arquero, who was recently named as a top 100 competitor in CEO’s 2020 Virtual Global Pitch competition. Arquero’s startup Formflair is a peer-to-peer sustainable fashion marketplace that allows stylish youth within the UAE to make affordable, quality purchases while helping the environment by giving used clothes a new home. The start-up capitalizes on the growing social acceptance of thrifting in the UAE and the trend among youth to reject fast fashion. Arquero says of StartupSBA’s role in his reaching the top 100:
“StartupSBA has been a real asset in helping me secure a place in the Pitch Competition. Not only did they provide information and direct contact with the organizers, they made sure to offer support—specifically, covering the costs of entering the competition as well as critiquing and reviewing my current business model. I am in the running to win up to $10,000 worth of seed money, and this competition also exposes my business to a wider audience.