ADCED launched the Akoun Entrepreneurship Initiative in November 2009 with the aim of identifying and disseminating the concept and practice of business entrepreneurship among university students to develop an entrepreneurial culture that would inspire and enable Emirati youth to enter the private sector by establishing their own small and medium business projects.
Academic institutions welcomed the initiative and expressed their interest in cooperating with ADCED to promote the initiative among students and encourage them to enter the entrepreneurship world.
Zayed University and INSEAD prepared case studies on leading Emirati entrepreneurs to be used as academic reference material and teaching material. In addition, Zayed University formed an entrepreneurs club and launched an academic training course on Emirati entrepreneurs.
The idea of the initiative centers on organizing specialised workshops in which a number of Emirati entrepreneurs share their expertise and experience with the participating students.
An annual competition entitled "Best Business Idea" is organized as part of the initiative's activities. A panel of experts choose three best business ideas presented by students, and the winners are awarded cash prizes, which can be used to start a business. In addition, the winners get professional training and guidance from the Khalifa Fund. Thousands of university students from all over UAE participated in the Akoun workshops and competition.