GE Volunteers lead Innovation Camp to instill business leadership skills in students business

The UAE Chapter onteers, the internal organisation of GE promoting the spirit of volunteerism, joined hands with Injaz, the Middle East partner of Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide, one of the world’s largest non-profit business education organizations, to host an Innovation Camp for female students in the UAE.

An annual feature in the various activities undertaken by GE Volunteers, the Innovation Camp offered a hands-on learning experience for about 80 students from the Ras Al Khaimah Women’s Higher College of Technology.

Eight GE Volunteers took part in a mentoring programme over a full-day, providing students the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to address a business challenge by drawing on creative thinking, team work, communications and leadership skills.

Elliot Lewis of GE Volunteers said: “The Innovation Camp organized by Injaz is a perfect fit to the central credo of GE to promote innovation and imagination. Over the nearly eight decades of GE’s operations in the Middle East, the focus of the company was to promote a culture of localized innovation to address the region’s specific requirements. The Innovation Camp was a novel way to reach out to student talent, encourage them to think creatively, promote the spirit of entrepreneurship and work-readiness, and set the foundation for business leadership.”

At the Innovation Camp, a special business challenge was drawn out in the form of a competition with the students, mentored by GE Volunteers, having to address the concern by developing an imaginative business plan. The 80 participating students were grouped into teams of 8 to 10 each, who demonstrated their eagerness to develop new methods of communication, learn about each other’s strengths and talents and eventually putting together the business proposition.

Each business plan stood out for its ingenuity and teamwork, and the plan for an online children’s furniture store called Royal Children’s Furniture to be ‘designed and made in Ras Al Khaimah’ was selected as the winner. The group that put together the plan won a place in the Junior Achievement Company Program.

GE is a member of the regional Injaz Al Arab board and globally has representation on the Junior Achievement board – working to inspire the next generation. In the UAE, GE has earlier partnered with Injaz to host the ‘You Can B!’ innovation camp last year. GE Volunteers also partner on the JA Success Skills program, whereby they step forward to mentor at Injaz Innovation Camps.

Volunteering is central to GE’s commitment to the societies it serves in, and some 175 GE Volunteer Councils in 46 countries and over 100,000 volunteers undertake over 1 million hours of community service every year. GE Volunteers have undertaken more than 5,000 projects world-wide, and are actively involved in supporting community activities in the Middle East, especially in the UAE. Last year, GE Volunteers in the UAE raised funds for Dubai Autism Center by taking part in the Dubai Marathon.