About The SEED Entrepreneurship
and Innovation Center (SEIC).

An initiative of SEED Group

The SEED Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (SEIC) is an initiative of SEED Group, the esteemed organization of The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum.

SEIC was developed with one goal in mind; to empower locally active business executives and aspiring entrepreneurs with the essential knowledge, skills and tools to truly succeed in their innovation journey. We aim to inspire a culture of collaborative growth through entrepreneurship and innovation in the Middle East. We believe in continuous professional development and are committed to tailoring our learning courses according to the key market learning gaps, challenges and opportunities to drive the success of individuals and businesses.

Meet SEIC Team

Hisham Al Gurg

With over 18 years of experience in setting up and running new ventures in the MENA region, Mr. Algurg is a pioneer for his visionary approach, high profile networking, and for concluding and managing large regional projects and investments worth more than 1.06 billion USD.

He is also the Executive Counselor of Al Fajer Investments & Development, an investment division of Al Fajer Enterprises, a holding group of companies owned by His Highness Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum. A member of the royal family of Dubai.

Currently, his main day-to-day activities are focused on managing SEED Group. As a Group CEO, Mr. Al Gurg manages 8 growing companies in 6 diversified industries. The group’s core activities are Telecom Services, Media Production, Entrepreneurship Training & Development, General Trading, Business Services, Restaurants, Medical Labs and Real Estate Investment and Management.
He is also the UAE partner of the Chinese petroleum giant “Sinopec Petroleum”. Sinopec is one of the five largest energy corporations in the world, headquartered in Beijing.

Mr. Algurg is a Bachelor degree holder from Southwest Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas).

Salma Kayali
Strategy Partner

Passionate about building a regional startup eco-system, Salma joined SEED Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (SEIC). Salma leads SEIC through managing and implementing its objectives. She interacted, advised, and judged hundreds of entrepreneurs and startups.

In her prior role as an Executive Director at Young Arab Leaders (YAL) , an NGO that promotes entrepreneurship and community empowerment, Salma managed the overall day to day running of the organization, fund development, recognition and formation of strategic partnerships, overseeing marketing, and development of youth and community programs. Salma successfully relaunched YAL under its new mission and was able to triple membership numbers within the first 14 months.

Salma is a regular judge, mentor, and speaker to entrepreneurs. Her understanding of the youths’ needs and current challenges is no coincidence. Her experience stems from her previous role as Assistant Director of Admission at Carnegie Mellon University’s Doha Campus, where she has conducted extensive research and visits to various educational entities in the region in addition to conducting hundreds of student interviews, which culminated in a strong understanding of youths’ condition in education and the workplace. Salma is the lead organizer of Startup Weekend Dubai, as well as Al Ain and RAK. She believes that in order to build an ecosystem for entrepreneurs, such high impact initiatives are critical.

Zandile Mnguni
Operations Director

Zandile Mnguni is the Director of Operations for SEIC. In this role, she manages all aspects of marketing communication, sales & promotions, project planning & operations. A big believer in the importance of a robust startup culture in the socio-economic landscape, Zandile was instrumental in establishing the Entrepreneurship initiative for SEED Group.

She is a qualified communications specialist and holds a BA in Corporate Communications from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, her native country. Zandile is no stranger to corporate learning & development initiatives having spent over 6 years developing and heading up strategies for large commercial conferences and trade shows. Before joining SEED Group in 2015, she worked for a well-known conferencing and exhibitions company in New York, specializing in Big Data & Analytics topics. Zandile’s varied background in research, communications & events project management provides the perfect foundation for bringing the SEED Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center to life.

The Silicon Valley Connection


At SEIC, we are driving the business landscape to innovate rapidly and more sustainably. We believe in learning from more advanced leaders in the global community and have spent a better part of the past 5 years in research & development to bring the most groundbreaking and revered innovation programs to the UAE. It is no wonder that it was in Silicon Valley that we discovered the Lean LaunchPad course for startups, founded by start-up guru Steve Blank.

The Lean Launch Pad is focused on learning how to rapidly develop and test ideas by gathering massive amounts of customer and marketplace feedback. We all know that the odds are stacked up against a start-up’s success. To increase their chance to succeed, the course compels participants to get out of the building and search for the real pain points and unmet needs of customers. With this, the entrepreneur will find proper solutions and establish a suitable business model that reflects a real need in the market and is repeatable and scalable.

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