Canon’s AKTASHIF drives the entrepreneurial spirit in youth as second module is announced

Dubai, UAE; November 15, 2020: Canon Middle East (CME) has launched Module 2 of its AKTASHIF programme for youth in the Middle East to help turn their passion for photography, videography or printing into a rewarding business and career.

  • AKTASHIF’s Module 2 inspires youth to kick start a creative business
  • Next generation of content creators encouraged to ‘Start Your Passion’

Following on from Module1, ‘Discover your Passion,’ where 14 to 24-year-olds in the region were challenged to explore their cultural roots and develop their own creative voice; Module 2, under the heading ‘Start your Creative Passion,’ encourages them to embark on the journey of designing and launching a successful imaging business. 

Canon launched the first-of-its-kind AKTASHIF programme in July 2020 with Module 1 to nurture the talent of the next generation of storytellers and content creators in the region and equip them with the tools and techniques to unleash their creative careers.

Mai Youssef, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services Director, Canon Middle East and Central and North Africa, said: “AKTASHIF is a community-minded initiative designed to empower a new generation of creators, innovators and entrepreneurs in the region. Youth today are faced with a significant challenge, and that is the need to complement their education with skills and tools they will undoubtedly need in the future but are not necessarily getting through their education. AKTASHIF will offer them the chance to get ahead and face this challenge with relevant training, mentorship and preparedness for the future.”

Through Module 2, participants learn how to write a business concept, define their business’ objectives and strategies, and put together an action plan for their creative business. The module will also give them the essential know how on ways to build a profitable, financially viable and sustainable photography, videography or print business.

Once the business concept is complete, participants can enter a competition for Module 2 by submitting between two to three business concepts for a creative career accompanied by video pitch. Three winners will receive an M50 Canon camera and their work featured on Canon’s social media channels.

With digital being the most vital to engage with the youth in the region, each module will include video episodes, providing insights for content creators and creative entrepreneurs.

AKTASHIF participants who completed the four modules by December 1, 2020 will be eligible to enter the Grand Prize competition with their creative imaging business concept that they have developed throughout the programme. The best three entries will be highlighted and receive prizes. The Grand Prize winner will receive AED 15,000 cash prize, AED 15,000-worth of Canon products and annual membership of a local entrepreneurship incubator to get their creative business idea off the ground.

Muhammed Muheisen, Canon Ambassador; Mitch Sinclair, Executive Design Director, IDEO and Creative Director of Palmwood; Mark Stobbs, Head of Programming and Outreach, Dubai Design District; Vinícius de Thomaz Domingues, Senior Manager at In5; and Mahdi Shafiei, Founder of Trifid Media are the esteemed judges of AKTASHIF.

Muhammed Muheisen, Canon Ambassador and World Renowned Photographer, said: “I am pleased to be among the jury of this year’s youth programme, AKTASHIF, the Arabic word for ‘Discover’, which is dedicated to help, support and empower you, as a young talent that needs to be discovered and directed in your professional journey. I believe that this is a life-time opportunity for passionate talents from the region to unleash their creativity and rise up to high standards in visual storytelling. As a passionate storyteller and professional content creator, I always look for original content, untold stories that give justice to the topic, an authentic approach and visually striking stories as it is all about quality not quantity. A commitment that will change your life.”

Mitch Sinclair, Executive Design Director, IDEO and Creative Director of Palmwood, said: “I firmly believe the true strength of any nation is the creative firepower of its people. Our collective dedication to uplifting the magic and potential of the next generation will define us for years to come. Programmes like AKTASHIF are critical efforts that inspire and empower youth to see creativity as a valued and viable life path - a life calling and career, not just a ‘fluffy hobby.’ These seeds of validation plant possibilities that open up entire new pathways and honour our young talent. The youth deserve to know that their creativity and artistic vision matter. That we are all listening and looking and learning from their unique creative voice. Especially in an era when Western aesthetics and visual perspectives have dominated the world for far too long, it’s thrilling to see the youth of the Middle East confidently asserting their creative voice, with partners like Canon Middle East to reward and support them. I’m honoured to be a part of this effort, elevating young creative voices that can show us all how to see in beautiful new ways.”

The programme also features regional, esteemed mentors, including, storyteller Clinton Lubbe, renowned photographer and filmmaker, who will impart advice and guide participants with techniques to master their craft. Ideas can be promoted on Instagram, using hashtag #CanonME and #freeyourstory.

Participants looking to develop specific skills in photography and printing will be taken into ‘deep dive’ virtual masterclasses designed specifically for their age group, while those wanting to pursue other interests will be guided through this link:

The AKTASHIF programme has four modules - Discover Your Creative Voice, Start Your Creative Journey, Pursue Your Creative Passion, and Unleash your Creative Career. Collectively, these will lead the participants through the process of designing and launching a successful creative business.