Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

UAE Portrait of a Nation: the Dubai schoolboy CEO with the world at his fingertips

Aadithyan Rajesh, 13, heads up his own software company and has his sights set on global success

Dubai schoolboy Aadithyan Rajesh started his own software company at the age of just 12, but it is just the start of his grand plans. Pawan Singh / The National
Dubai schoolboy Aadithyan Rajesh started his own software company at the age of just 12, but it is just the start of his grand plans. Pawan Singh / The National

Schoolboy Aadithyan Rajesh has set his sights on becoming one of the world's leading entrepreneurs before the age of 30.

While many young dreams fall by the wayside as reality and maturity hits, the talented 13-year-old is well on the way to making his come true.

For this isn't just any Dubai youngster thinking big - Aadithyan has already been heralded as the emirate's youngest CEO.

He started his software development at the tender age of 12, successfully juggling his business interests and his studies with a little help from his family.

But he will have to wait another five years before he can register it. Under UAE law, he cannot register the company until he turns 18.

“It all started in 2010 when I came to Dubai,” said Aadithyan, a year eight pupil at Elite English School.

“At that time my father had an extra computer. I had a great fascination with it. I always had a machine with me because whenever I use computers I feel I have a best friend with me. Now, I’m having my own company.”

Aadithyan is speaking from his family’s living room at a flat in Al Qusais, the unofficial headquarters of his company Trinet Solutions.

Born in Thiruvilla, Kerala, he moved to the UAE at age five and began to use BBC Typing, a children’s typing website. By age nine, Aadithyan had designed his first app. At age 12, he launched Trinet Solutions with a neighbour and two schoolmates.

They design apps, logos and websites for companies and have worked with a dozen companies since launching in December, 2017. One friend has since repatriated to India and another moved to Ajman.

In the meantime, he recruited his six-year-old sister Aaradhya who films him for his YouTube channel, A Craze.

Aadithyan Rajesh is aiming to climb the ranks to become one of the world's leading entrepreneurs over the next 15 years. Pawan Singh / The National
Aadithyan Rajesh is aiming to climb the ranks to become one of the world's leading entrepreneurs over the next 15 years. Pawan Singh / The National

He earns pocket money by developing apps and branding for companies but much of his work is voluntary and inspired by what he sees around him. For his teachers, he developed a scheduling app. “When I saw teachers struggling to do that, I helped them.”

When his family was affected by the Kerala floods last August, he used his YouTube channel to raise awareness among his 2,800 global subscribers and called on them to donate to the government of Kerala’s distress relief fund.

Aadithyan is currently developing an android app that matches blood donors with those in need of transfusion. He hopes it will be picked up by local hospitals and clinics.

At the same time, he is pressing ahead with a commercial app requested by a local company that publishes articles directly to clients.

People can be surprised to meet the boy behind the software.

“Actually they think we are big teenagers and all,” said Aadithyan. “But after seeing our website they are happy. I make my clients my families. If I do something for them, I’ll be doing it to the best quality.”

When asked how he balances work with his studies, he pointed to his mother. “She will tell you,” he smiled.

“I told him to pause it sometimes because education is the most important, no?” said his mother, Sreerenjini Rajesh.

Aadithyan rises daily at 6am to study for half an hour before starting school at 8am. After school, he has tuition, does another hour or two of homework and goes to bed after 10pm. In the middle of this, he dedicates about two hours a day to programming.

“He doesn’t have a single minute to sit simply,” said his mother.

But Aadithyan feels there is little time to waste. He has set himself a 15 year plan. He wants to be the best coder in the region within five years, to be one of the leading keynote speakers in the Middle East within a decade and be one of the premier entrepreneurs in the world within 15 years.

In the short term, he wants to help other children learn programming and graphic design through YouTube tutorials and public speaking events.

“If you have a dream in programming you can just get started up,” he said. “Coding is never perfect. If I code something today, in three months I will see that it could be better.”

Updated: May 9, 2019 04:42 PM

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