You see things we can't.

ABOUT NextGen10 2021

In the future, we’ll face a million new challenges. But, there are a million young minds working to solve them. So, this is for you, our Next Generation. Go on, we’re listening. No matter how crazy, out-there or blue-sky…we'll provide you a platform to help you turn your idea into reality, with mentoring, funding and a showcase at the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020. Because, money alone won’t change our future. You will.

NextGen10 Timeline 2021


Maria Falaknaz (aged 13)

Idea: Walking stick for the visually impaired

"I am passionate about helping people and volunteering for multiple causes. I am passionate about comforting and being by people’s side with whatever they are suffering through, because two can do it better than one, and we should always support people. I always had this urge to lend out my helping hand but didn’t get the chance to, until a volunteering experience in 2016. I began moving forward with this heart-guiding activity which made me feel really positive and brightened. I volunteered whilst my dad was receiving treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, and began seeking for similar opportunities like this, and made my own volunteer group with CDA in January 2019 to spread my passion around. I aspire to be a part of people’s journeys moving forward and become an Oncologist to always comfort people. This has been my ideal path for life ever since my first volunteer experience."

Sreya Binesh (aged 12)

Idea: Vertical garden app

"Science is a way of life. My favourite subject is science, you can look at science through any perspective to transform the whole world. I am passionate about the aim of being a scientist at NASA or ISRO. Being an Indian has been very much inspired by the great Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who has driven my mind with a great aim to become a scientist. My dream is to innovate something new for the society to help them. My passion for innovation and entrepreneurship to be a scientist stems from my love of reading and experimenting new ideas. I participate in competitions to take those opportunities to gather a lot of knowledge for my future dream. Similarly, I will use this fantastic opportunity as a stepping-stone towards my dream. I am thankful to NextGen for contributing towards my future journey."

Tanay Jagannathan (aged 13)

Idea: CO2 absorbing drone

"I strongly believe that science and technology can provide solutions to most of the problems faced by mankind. My goal is to provide solutions to complex world problems with the help of simple and innovative ideas. Elon Musk has had a huge positive impact on the development and use of technology over the past two decades. His innovative ventures like SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, Hyperloop, and OpenAI have always fascinated me. I aspire to be an innovative entrepreneur like Elon Musk."


Ameera Muez (aged 14)

Idea: Plan-it a gamified sustainability app

"I am passionate about helping the environment and creating a more sustainable living situation to help save our planet. That is why in the future I would like to start my own company that promotes and focuses on making different things and processes completely sustainable. If we want to save our planet, then that is the direction we need to be going towards."

Hunar Sharma (aged 11)

Idea: Nationwide creative sessions for schools

"I am passionate about reading books and my favourite genres are fantasy and mystery. One other thing I love doing is DIY. It is on the top of my list because it is a way to express myself and bring out that creative element inside me. When I grow up, I want to be an Orthopaedic doctor because I play a lot of sports and I have injured my bones a few times. This led me to choose this field and learn about it. Being a doctor will give me a sense of responsibility and would make me feel proud by giving back to the community that I am part of."

Ishanvi Shetty (aged 12)

Idea: Activity buddies app

"I am a very active person, and love to play sports. I am especially passionate about athletics (sprinting) and football. I also love reading, I am a big Potter-head. My favourite subjects in school are Math, Physics and English. When I grow up, I want to be either a football player or a scientist. My favourite branch of science as of now is theoretical physics, so I want to delve deeper into that field when I grow up. My biggest inspirations are Lionel Messi, Alex Morgan, Usain Bolt and JK Rowling. I admire Messi for his drive and passion, Morgan for her sheer skill of the game and Bolt for his ability to remain calm and perform under pressure, as well as his talent. I am also passionate about the environment and hope to do something that changes the world someday."

Mohammed Ashaz (aged 11)

Idea: Walking stick for the visually impaired

"When I grow up, I want to study emerging technologies and be a creative innovator. It really fascinates me when I look around and see people interact with smart machines in daily life making life easier and smarter. Be it chatting with bots, surfing, shopping, interacting with smart machines, paying bills, buying and selling things, you name it. Machine learning technology has really solved many problems and continuously made life easier. I feel lucky to be living in a dynamic and vibrant Dubai city which promotes and provides a platform for evolving modern AI and robotic technology. To top it all, my idea, walking stick for blind, not only gives the blind a smart eye but also a smart life making it a smart stick!"

Saif Hassan (aged 13)

Idea: Biodegradable plastic using food waste

"I have always been passionate about science because it gave me the power to change the world into a better place. Science allows me to explore the world and find solutions for the biggest crisis that humanity faces. My love for science is extraordinary because it allows me to understand the world. I always participate in programs and competitions that improve my passion for science. When I grow up, I want to be a Cardiologist because I have always loved studying Medicine, in particular the Physiology of the heart. I also love helping people and spreading happiness. I also want to be a Researcher focusing on Biology to understand the natural world."

Sreehari D Nair (aged 12)

Idea: Calligraphy art programme

"I love art; Drawing and painting is my passion. That is why I chose this topic for my presentation. Apart from being an artist, I dream to become a space scientist when I grow up. From an early age, I was very interested in the universe and its exploration. Even in my future job, I strive to see that art is integrated with various fields. My passion for art also takes me to higher opportunities, like the chance to take part in the NextGen10 competition. If my idea wins, it will mean a lot more than a victory to me - it will be a victory to unemployed calligraphists across the UAE, and mostly, a victory to Arabia’s traditions."

Trisha Sayani (aged 12)

Idea: DONIAMO a toy donating app

"I am passionate about creating a better world through innovation and creative ideas, and dream of a world where all people can live in peace and harmony with no conflict. When I grow up, I would like to be like the current Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, an inspiring and wonderful woman who has the power to bring about change with her voice. Jacinda Ardern is truly an inspiration for all the girls out there to be a good person yet who they want to be and I am one of them."


Abdulfattah Sharaf

Group General Manager and the CEO for HSBC in the UAE

“Our future will be defined by the ideas of our youth – I am so excited to hear their perspective and to listen to their ideas.”

Abdulfattah Sharaf is a Group General Manager and the CEO for HSBC in the UAE. He is also Head of International which covers Bahrain, Kuwait and Algeria. Abdulfattah is a Board Member of HSBC’s operations in Oman and HSBC’s Global Private Bank. Before his appointment as CEO UAE, he was the CEO for HSBC’s Personal Banking business in the MENA region. Before joining HSBC, Abdulfattah was Chief Executive Officer of NBD Securities, a subsidiary of Emirates NBD. Abdulfattah is currently a Board member of the Noor Dubai Foundation, a member of the Mastercard MEA Advisory Board, a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Sharjah and a Board Member of the Emirates Golf Federation. Abdulfattah is a graduate of the University of Denver, USA.

Dan Howlett

Regional Head of Commercial Banking for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey

"I cannot wait to hear from our next generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers and hear more about their views for the future."

As Regional Head of Commercial Banking for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey within HSBC, I am responsible for supporting innovative businesses from across the region to thrive – both domestically and internationally. My team, made up of over 1,000 people, from over 70 nationalities and spread across eight markets are passionate about developing the businesses of today and those of the future. We support them with coverage, trade, cash management as well as at pivotal moments in their development: acquisitions, expansion overseas etc. I have almost 30 years of experience in banking, but still continue to learn and develop every day, particularly from my own two boys, who are 19 and 15 years old.

Sabrin Rahman

Head of Sustainability for Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey

“I’m excited to see how the next generation of leaders will tackle the world’s most pressing problems”

Based in Dubai, Sabrin is the Head of Sustainability for Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Prior to joining HSBC, Sabrin had worked for organizations such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Global Peace Index and the Grameen Bank. She has experience in fostering cross border partnerships, policy development and programme implementation with think tanks, non-profits, regulatory bodies and academia on diverse sustainable development themes including resource scarcity, climate change and education reform. Externally, Sabrin sits on the Board of the Directors of the Emirates Green Building Council and is a Board Advisor for both INJAZ Al Arab and the Emirates Foundation. She holds a Masters in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Cambridge, UK and a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney, Australia specialising in peace and business.

Dan Robinson

Head of Wealth & Personal Banking for the UAE

“Our NextGen see things we can’t. You don’t see obstacles, but opportunity and I can’t wait to see and learn from your ideas”

I am the Head of Wealth & Personal Banking for the UAE, leading an exciting business focused on meeting the everyday needs of our personal customers. We are here to support on everything from making simple payments to advising on investments and future planning. We deliver all this through a number of channels including Wealth advisors, Branch Banking, Telephone, Online Banking and Mobile. I have been based in Dubai for a little under a year but have 20 years’ experience in financial services from my time in the UK and European teams. Professionally my two passions are Customer and Inclusion, building high performing teams around both. I am the Co-Chair of Balance, our gender focused Diversity and Inclusion committee across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey."

Fatema AlAfeefi

Country Head of HR - UAE HSBC Bank Middle East Limited

“Children pure, uninterrupted sight is where the best vision lies. NextGen are our future and i am thrilled to see the world through their lens!”

As Country Head of HR UAE with a background in Business Physiology and over 13 years of experience primarily in the aviation industry, i am passionate about people and exploring their potential to soar. Identifying growth opportunities for the business through its people is where my focus lies. At HSBC i manage and oversees the UAE People Strategy, working closely with the UAE CEO and Executive Committee members as well as the Regional HR Leadership team.

Mazen Raad

Chief Innovation Officer SAP Middle East South

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

Mazen is responsible for driving the SAP innovation agenda in the Middle East South region (UAE, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, and Levant), bringing value to customers and aligning with the overall SAP business strategy.Mazen focuses on cloud innovation and sustainable business to meet the acceleration of change across the region. Mazen has more than 22 years’ experience in ICT field including a deep understanding of the region's market across multiple sectors, where he has a track record of achieving tangible growth and business value. Mazen started with SAP as Managing Director for SAP Qatar. Before joining SAP, Mazen enjoyed a successful 11-year career with Cisco Systems in Qatar and UAE where he advanced through different positions, most recently as Regional Manager for the Public Sector and prior to this, as Regional Manager for Cisco Systems Partner Organization. Mazen holds a Bachelor of Engineering.

Wemmy de Maaker

Director of Mawaheb   

“Old words are reborn with new faces.”

Over the past ten years, I have belonged to a community of incredibly talented and exceptional humanbeings, who uplift my spirits and instil my heart with purpose. As the director of Mawaheb, a studio forPeople of Determination (POD) 18 years and above, where they can hone their artistic expressions and beempowered to realise their full potential, I am fulfilling my life-long mission of giving PODs a voice to beheard and the opportunity to integrate in society as well as to be recognised and rewarded for their talents. At Mawaheb, we accept and celebrate the differences of all our students. We embrace and support themand remain in line with government initiatives to promote, protect, and ensure the self-determination ofeveryone in Dubai and give PODs the same opportunity as everyone else. Ours has been an incredibly rewarding journey that has exposed us to a unique world through theexhibitions that we held for our students and the platforms that we made available for them to share theirexperiences and dreams towards inspiring people from all walks of life. In our new space in Al Quoz, we are progressing upon our vision to establish an inclusive community, whereeveryone can share their success, talents and stories within a space that was built around people’s needsand comforts. See the world through the eyes of dreamers, artists, and beautiful souls.

Ram Ramachandran

Senior Vice President for Middle East & Africa at Tech Mahindra

“Be careful--with quotations, you can damn anything.”

Ram Ramachandran, Senior Vice President for Middle East & Africa at Tech Mahindra. He is responsible for running both the Telecom & Enterprise business. In addition, he is nominated as TechM’s Global Executive Sponsor for Oracle & is a member of TechM's Leadership Council. Ram is recognized by Forbes as “Top 100 Global-Local Executive in the Middle East for 4 years" and is also featured in Forbes "Top 50 Indian Executives in the Arab World". He has over 20 years of experience and led consulting and value-driven sales in diverse regions spanning the Middle East, APAC & the US. Before moving to Dubai in 2014, Ram handled the ASEAN business of TechM based out of Singapore (5 years) where he steered the region on a journey of rebuild (post-acquisition of Satyam by TechM). He has been a spokesperson and representative of Tech Mahindra at various forums & events including regional chapters of the World Economic Forum in the Middle East & Africa and earlier in ASEAN. Ram is a member of The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry – Arab Regional Council. Ram also spent a decade (2000 - late 2009) with HCL Technologies. Ram got his PGDM/MBA in Information Management from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai (2000) and is a Rank Holder in Bachelors in Engineering (Mechanical) from University of Madras (VEC/VIT 1996 (now Vellore Institute of Technology)).

Simon Penny

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HTMC) for the Middle East

“You do not exist to serve the illusion. The illusion exists to serve you.”

Simon Penney was appointed as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HTMC) for the Middle East in May 2018. In January 2021 he was also appointed as Her Majesty’s Consul General (HMCG) to Dubai.Simon has spent many years in the banking sector with extensive experience leading corporate and financial institution groups and teams across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Simon’s previous roles in the Middle East include Head of Corporate and Investment Banking at First Gulf Bank and Chief Executive Officer, Middle East and Africa with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Simon has also worked for ABN AMRO Bank in South Africa and the UK, in consulting at PwC and in project finance within the construction industry. Simon holds an MBA from Nottingham University and a construction management degree from Reading University.

Altaf Ahmed

Director, Retail IoT – Digital Channels &Payment Solutions at Etisalat

“A man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”

Altaf Ahmed is the Director for Retail IoT Channels & Payment Solutions at Etisalat. He is a Digital Products and Solutions professional with 20+ years of rich experience and has been one of the driving forces of Etisalat Group’s vision of ‘Driving the Digital Future to empower societies’. Prior to Etisalat, in 2015, he co-founded Remitr, an award-winning digital cross-border payments Fintech start-up. Before that, Altaf worked for 12+ years at Emirates NBD Bank, spearheading a number of key innovations in Digital Banking in the bank’s journey to become a digital leader. Altaf is also the Founding Board Member of the MENA Fintech Association, a not-for-profit industry body, and was recognized by Lattice80 and The Digital Fifth as one of top Fintech Influencers in the Middle East. He holds a Master’s in Business Management from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur.


HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. Our global businesses serve more than 40 million customers worldwide through a network that covers 64 countries and territories.

HSBC is the largest and most widely represented international banking organisation in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT), with a presence in nine countries. The UAE is the headquarters of our operations in this region, which cover: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. This presence, the widest reach of any international bank in the region, comprises some 350 offices and around 9,500 employees.

With award-winning and market-leading capabilities in Global Banking & Markets, Commercial Banking, Trade Finance, Payments and Transactions, Sustainable Finance, and Wealth & Personal Banking, HSBC is here to connect our customers to opportunities and help them thrive.

In 2021, HSBC celebrates 75 years of doing business in the UAE. We hit this milestone with ambitious plans for growth in the UAE, that will itself celebrate its Golden Jubilee this year and offer a showcase of the nation’s inspiring vision for the future, global innovation, creativity and collaboration with the opening of Expo 2020, where HSBC will be a Founding Partner of the UK Pavilion.

The UK is taking part in the next World Expo in Dubai from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. The UK’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai will consist of a self-build country pavilion and an accompanying events and content programme. Our participation theme is ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.

The UK Pavilion will offer visitors a unique experience, building on previous award-winning installations at Expo 2010 Shanghai (The Seed Cathedral), Expo 2015 Milan (The Hive), Expo 2017 Astana (The Yurt) and Expo 2019 Beijing (UK Garden and Pavilion). The UK Pavilion will highlight leading British expertise in sectors including artificial intelligence and space. It also provides a platform for a six month programme of business, cultural, educational and tourism activity.

‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ is the overarching theme for Expo 2020 Dubai. The UK will be one of 190 nations participating, alongside non-government organisations and sponsors.

The site will be split into 3 districts:

The UK Pavilion will be in the Opportunity District.

Millions of visits are expected over the course of the event, including members of the public, global heads of government, business leaders and celebrities. With 70% of visitors expected to be international, this major world event presents a significant opportunity to promote the UK as a global hub of innovation and a world leading destination for trade, investment, education and tourism.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is delivering the UK’s participation, communications and activation at Expo 2020 Dubai, co-funded by five other Government Departments, the GREAT Campaign and Devolved Administrations.

Debate Mate is a global social business that powers social change from the classroom to the boardroom. They believe that the human skills that debating teaches - critical and creative thinking, active listening, persuasive communication, inquisitiveness, empathy, resilience and confidence - are critical to survive and thrive in the modern world of education and employment.

Debate Mate has grown out of a non-profit, which runs education, skills and careers programmes in schools across the globe. Since 2008 they have worked with 100,000 young people and 10,000 teachers across 50 countries. Debate Mate operates in schools on every continent, and they have partnered with world-leading organisations to deliver high-impact programmes that combine learning and fun.

Debate Mate also runs programmes into the business world. Their innovative approach to helps professionals of all levels to supercharge their skill set and communicate and lead with confidence.

TEC is an award winner communication agency best known for its live and digital event experiences that create memorable experiences that evoke emotions, shape opinions and make things happen. TEC opened it's doors in Dubai in 2008 and since then have been launching, positioning and elevating brands throughout the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. With every project, TEC strive to go above and beyond, pushing boundaries, and providing clients with unique ideas and concepts that work. Projects are meticulously planned and TEC are known for bringing a personal touch to every project executed.

Success has been built on the ability to apply outstanding client servicing whilst delivering the latest creative ideas and technology in events. Their capabilities, expertise and experience have allowed TEC to work with many of the world’s leading brands to deliver some of the finest live events and digital experiences the industry has ever seen.
TEC's international team have a breadth of industry expertise allowing them to deliver exceptional events to a diverse range of clients across a variety of sectors.