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Khalifa Fund to Start Incubator Programme to Help Emirati Innovators

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), which promotes entrepreneurship development and the growth of competitive small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UAE, recently announced it is considering launching an incubator programme to provide Emirati innovators with the support needed to develop their ideas.

Currently, the Fund and Chairman Hussain al Nowais are in the progress of creating a vision for the programme and the mode of action. He and the Fund are discussing the program with multiple possible partners, including those from the investment and education sectors. The Fund is also forming digital services that will enable innovators to electronically submit their plans for consideration. Hussain al Nowais anticipates the Fund will release a mobile platform to access the Fund’s services by this time next year.

Small and medium-sized enterprises make up nearly 92% of all companies in the UAE and provide over 86% private sector jobs. Last year, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa approved Federal Law No. 2 of 2015, which provides incentives, as well as funding provisions and mandatory support from federal entities, to the owners of Emirati SMEs. The Central Bank is also planning to enact guidelines to increase bank lending to the SMEs, which currently makes up just 3% of all bank lending.  The sector’s contribution to economic output is expected to rise from around 60% to 70% by 2020.

About the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development

Launched on June 3, 2007, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development helps develop local enterprises, with a total of AED 2 billion in capital investment. The Fund works to develop a new generation of entrepreneurs in the UEA by inspiring the culture of investment among young Emiratis, while developing and supporting SME investments. The Fund also offers widespread integrated programs to satisfy the needs and requirements of investors who want to form or expand investments in the UAE.



Holding Company Plans To Further Investments

The Abu Dhabi government’s industrial holding company, Senaat, will be pouring more investments into the country’s industrial sector after a reportedly high profit gain from the first-half of the fiscal year. Senaat noted a 20 percent year-over-year gain in net profit totaling to Dh453 million. That net profit is calculated before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization, which has surpassed Dh1 billion for the first time ever. With that in mind, Senaat will contribute more to the economy by enhancing their portfolio of companies and starting new projects.

Chairman of Senaat, Hussain Al Nowais, says that strategic projects are in the works that will further diversify Abu Dhabi’s industrial base and boost the GDP contribution of non-oil industrial sectors. As it currently stands, Senaat owns or partial owns six companies, which are comprised of Emirates Steel, Arkan Building Materials, National Petroleum Construction Company, Al Foah, Agthia and Ducab. But, two more companies are in development by Senaat and they are Taweelah Aluminum Extrusion Company and Al Gharbia Pipe Company. With that in mind, Senaat plans to invest Bh5bn in the industrial sector over the next two years.

This action plan is aimed to help the country reduce its dependence on oil revenues, which according to the Ministry of Economy, makes up roughly 30 percent of the country’s GDP. Not only will this boost in the industrial sector help the country diversify away from oil revenues, but they also have plans to bolster the contributions of SMEs to 70 percent by the year 2020, whereas SMEs currently contribute about 60 percent.

The ministry’s undersecretary said the country hopes to drastically reduce the oil sector’s contribution to the GDP within the next 10 years through the diversification efforts that are taking off within the UAE. The government is hopeful that Senaat will be able to aid in the diversification process as they already have achieved portfolio amounts to Dh26.8 billion over the past 10 years and that includes investments over Dh18bn.