In the Middle East, the entrepreneurial scene is making its way onto television screens in a reality show that is the first of its kind in the region.
United Arab Emirates telecommunications company, Du, is launching The Entrepreneur, a reality show produced by Sony Pictures Television Arabia.
Through the show, participating entrepreneurs could find themselves gaining financial and professional support. The show will feature business ideas that are already up and running, but are looking for that needed boost, while also welcoming relatively new ideas that are looking for seed capital to get off the ground.
Airing on the UAE TV channel, Dubai One, The Entrepreneur is not the Middle East’s first reality TV show, but in the past the category has mostly been limited to TV shows of the American Idol and Big Brother nature. In 2010, Stars of Science launched, a reality TV show which puts the spotlight on the region’s scientific inventions. Today’s announcement brings the field of reality TV into the startup world.
The fact that a TV show like The Entrepreneur is making its way onto a mainstream TV channel in the region is a great sign of how attitudes towards entrepreneurship is shifting.
Speaking about the initiative, Hala Badri, Executive Vice President, Brand and Communications, Du, said:
“We are convinced there are many good ideas out there which needs to be heard and, which needs to be promoted. The UAE is brimming with fantastic entrepreneurial talent which just needs a platform to take it to the next level.
“The Entrepreneur” aims to empower and support the new breed of UAE entrepreneurs that build new enterprises which are innovative, sustainable and, most importantly, contribute meaningfully towards the social development of communities. This truly is a once in a life time opportunity, and for those with big dreams, I would say – go for it!”
The Entrepreneur is currently accepting applications, with the submission deadline set for March 31, 2012. The show is only open to UAE residents over the age of 18, but there is one surprisingly restrictive condition. Applicants must have a registered UAE company in their name, which unfortunately limits the potential applicants, who may have great ideas but need help in getting the concept off the ground.
One of 10 finalists selected to appear on the show will walk away with 1 million AED ($270,000), along with services and support including office space, advertising and PR, telecommunications services, and business planning.
The concept of an entrepreneurial reality TV show is of course not a new one. In fact, in September, TechStars debuted its own reality TV show on Bloomberg, so it should be interesting to see how The Entrepreneur compares to its US counterpart.