UAE telecommunications company set to launch Apprentice-style TV show

Hala Badri, executive vice president, brand and communications of Du.

Du telecommunications has announced its plan to launch a TV Reality show later this year, with the winner receiving a AED1m cash prize. Titled ‘The Entrepreneur’, the show is likely to begin in the third quarter of 2012.

“It welcomes a new genre of entrepreneurs:  people who have ideas that are impactful and they are passionate about it, and they have exceptional drive and stamina to take it forward,” said Hala Badri, executive vice president, brand and communications of Du.

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Expecting around 3,000 to 5,000 candidates to apply to this program, a handpicked jury has been chosen to see through the competition, including Petrochem boss Yogesh Mehta, Virgin Megastore’s MENA president Nisreen Shocair, MBRE president Abdul Baset Al Janahi and Easa Saleh Al Gurg director Muna Al Gurg,

From the initial pool of applicants, Badri said a 100 will be shortlisted to auditions, and 10 will make it to the actual show.

The contestants will be pitching in three different criteria.

“There will be the financial and planning side to it, then they will be showcasing their packaging, marketing or communication ideas…and then there will be the leadership … or being the boss for a day part of it as well,” said Badri.

“It is 8 episodes. It starts with casting … the judges will be there all along,” she said. “The first 4 episodes will concentrate on people providing their ideas and pitching for their products.

“I think at episode 4, is where we actually narrow it to 4 contestants, and then it goes down to 2 contestants. At the end, they will be pitching their ideas, and only one of them will walk away with their prize money.”

Along with the AED1m cash prize, the  winner will be given another million dirhams in terms of services.

“We provide office space. We provide mentoring. We make their dreams come true in meeting, for example, certain leaders within the company. It is basically a service…it is an opportunity for them to basically become celebrities,” said Badri.

She added: “The show is targeted at both existing ventures that require recapitalization, but also people with new business plans and new ideas that they need startup capital for…To be eligible, you have to be 18 years of age,” said Badri. “You have to have an established entity, so you have to be licensed, and they [the candidates] can procure that license within the four weeks that the applicant process is open.” said Badri.

Du hopes to shine the spotlight on aspirant minds that want to bring new ideas to the UAE, making it an attractive economy.

“There are a lot of people who have wonderful ideas, but do not have the platform or the program that allows them to take it forward,” said Badri.

She added, “I think they do not get the right exposure… They have the passion and the drive but it always stops at the funding.”

The 30-minute episodes will be aired on Dubai One, the exclusive broadcaster to the show, and will be produced by Sony Pictures Television Arabia.

“We are hoping to air this in the 3rd quarter of this year,” said Badri. “It’s a new territory. We will launch it and we will see how it’ll go and we’ll take it from there.”

The deadline for application is March 31st, 2012.

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