UAE: Meet the tech entrepreneur who wants to turn Kerala’s Malappuram into Dubai – News

The Indian national derives his motivation from the remarkable vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum



Published: Sat 15 Oct 2022, 08:00

Last update: Sat 15 Oct 2022, 08:13

A 31-year-old tech-savvy entrepreneur from Kerala is looking to take inspiration from Dubai’s incredible growth story and roll out such changes in his hometown of Malappuram district.

Umer Abdussalam, founder and CEO of learning app Edapt, has always been enthralled by how the leaders of the United Arab Emirates have transformed Dubai from an arid desert into a world-class innovative city.

“By transforming my hometown of Malappuram into Dubai, I don’t mean to recreate another Burj Khalifa, a museum of the future or a digital twin of Dubai there, but my goal is to improve the lives of the people of Malappuram by empowering them with the right skills for the new digital era, as you see here. I want to help young returnees to land well-paying jobs in the future,” Abdussalam said on the sidelines of Gitex Global 2022 .

“I have been coming to Gitex for six years. Being here, I am inspired by innovators and pioneers of technology. Booths showcase technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, blockchain and others – the combination of which is very powerful, and you can only see it here.

Abdussalam, a graduate in information technology and political science, was once an aspirant to Indian civil service. He came close to qualifying for elite services three times: once he missed the threshold by four points after the final interview. At the same time, he helped students prepare for the preparatory course for the civil service exam.

At the 2016 World Economic Forum, he learned how the Fourth Industrial Revolution and advanced technologies are driving fundamental changes in the way people live, work and connect. In 2017, Abdussalam founded the learning app Edapt, a startup to prepare children and young people for a rapidly changing world.

“My goal is to introduce children to artificial intelligence, robotics, internet of things, 3D printing, virtual reality, blockchain and coding in addition to their normal school curriculum These disruptive forces of technology are changing the world, and their knowledge will dictate how you fare in the job market.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, users of its starter app grew from 10,000 to 300,000.

Learn from Sheikh Mohammed

The Indian national derives his motivation from the remarkable vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

In line with Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives’ “One Million Arab Coders”, Abdussalam earlier this year launched “100K Malappuram Coders” – a project with local civic body and learning app Edapt to help children to discover the platforms of the digital age.

“As all industries embrace digitalization, those with coding skills will be in high demand in the future. So we have taken a proactive step to teach coding to 100,000 children. It was launched in collaboration with the panchayat Malappuram district. This is a 12 week short course focusing on 12 fundamental ideas including food production, space exploration, coding, transportation and agriculture. We have sought to broaden the choices children can pursue in the future.

Since its launch in January, 68,000 students have enrolled and 5,000 have completed the three-month course.

“Once we provide skill sets to the children, we give them the opportunity to try several high-paying jobs. These jobs, which can be done in a work-from-home model, will help talented girls and women contribute to the economy. If the right skill sets are created then Malappuram can be transformed into a high income economy just like Dubai.

Additionally, Abdussalam has launched a Volunteering to Solve Society’s Problems campaign, which examines local civic issues. He published a book about the Fourth Industrial Revolution – “Admirers of Samantha”, published by DC Books. He inspired a nine-member team of Dubai-based entrepreneurs aged 20-40 to join him at this Gitex.

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