Student Entrepreneur Turns Business Mentor for Annual Start-up Competition

November 9th, 2015: Following his winning performance at the 2014 Dubai Startup Weekend, 20 year-old Kazakh student, Abzal Assembekov, has this year returned as a mentor and sponsor for the grueling 54-hour business challenge.

Abzal, a Communications major at Canadian University Dubai (CUD), has emerged as one of the foremost success stories of the annual competition, having gone on to launch his own business within a year of participating in the event.

As the Founder and Managing Director of Dubai-based start-up, Heptagon Multimedia (, Abzal was invited back to the Startup Weekend Bootcamp to share his experience and expertise with contenders in this year’s competition. His new venture, a digital agency that specializes in creating and developing successful online businesses in the Gulf region, also acted at an official sponsor of the exclusive mentoring event.

Having already sourced three investors for his new business and secured premises in Dubai Internet City, Abzal was well-placed to offer advice on the startup landscape in the UAE. He revealed, “This country is quite unique in its strong culture of networking, and entrepreneurs need to take every opportunity they can to make new contacts.

“The business environment is still maturing and there is a strong sense of collaboration. It’s much easier to connect with people here and they are very willing to share their experiences. I’ve found that even the most senior executives are open, accessible and happy to support new entrepreneurs.”

Abzal went on to guide participants on the sectors that show most entrepreneurial potential in the UAE, citing real estate, tourism, fashion and entertainment as those with big-business prospects in the future.

He said, “What’s important is to identify a clear niche in the market, while at the same time pursuing a business idea that you’re passionate about. It’s also essential to ensure that you have the appropriate skillset, or to partner with those who do.”

In addition to his mentoring, Abzal is also hoping to give back by creating opportunities for other young people, as he looks to expand his workforce to meet growing client demand. He said, “We need new talent to help develop the business and we’re hoping to be able to offer employment opportunities in programming, design and marketing, as well internships, to other students at CUD.”