UAE entrepreneurs could win up to Dhs2 million ($544,500) in a newly launched reality television series by telecoms operator Du, to promote small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Called ‘The Entrepreneur’, the homegrown show is yet another first from du in the UAE. It is proudly a homegrown entrepreneurial reality TV show, that intends to empower entrepreneurs to venture into creating new businesses in a sustainable manner. Conceptualised by du, the show is aimed at both existing ventures that need recapitalisation for growth as well as high impact business ideas requiring start-up capital. The reality show will be broadcast across the Gulf Arab region in the third quarter of this year, according to Hala Badri, vice president for brand and communications at telecoms operator du. Hala said that the “The Entrepreneur” will see hopefuls judged by a panel of four executives on the viability of their ventures in an eight-episode series slated to air on Dubai One television over the summer. “We are convinced there are many good ideas out there which needs to be heard and which needs to be promoted. The UAE is brimming with fantastic entrepreneurial talent which just needs a platform to take it to the next level”, said Hala while unveiling the show on Tuesday. She disclosed that there are a lot of people with great ideas and they have the passion and the drive, but it always stops at the lack of funding and du wants to make this dream a reality. It is estimated that there are an approximate of 200,000 small- to medium-sized enterprises in the UAE. She said that the programme proves to be successful, it may become an annual event. Ten small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will be shortlisted to take part in the show, titled The Entrepreneur, which is set to air on Dubai One later this year. The competition is open to UAE residences above 18 years old and who have a registered company in their name. NGOs, societies, and associations are also welcome to submit their innovative business ideas. Applications will be whittled down to 10 finalists who will appear on the English-language reality show. The final four will be set a series of tasks over the last four episodes to show their marketing, retail and leadership skills and the viability of their business plan. On the final episode, only one deserving winner will walk away with 1 million dirhams and up to another 1 million dirhams in support services over the next year, including advertising, office space, telecoms services and mentoring. Second and third place finishers will also get business support help as consolation prizes.