Al Nowais: Khalifa Fund and strategists partner to launch quality initiative to support innovation

DUBAI, 22nd November, 2015 (WAM) — Hussein Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, has announced the plan of launching a quality initiative this week in collaboration with number of strategic partners to support innovation, as part of UAE Innovation Week.

He made the announcement at a symposium entitled “Innovating and Entrepreneurship Education”, held today under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The symposium was organised by the UAE University, UAEU, in collaboration with 20 educational institutions.

Al Nowais said, “The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, which is playing a vital role in spreading the culture of entrepreneurship among youths, is planning to launch new programmes and tools targeting innovative Emiratis, to provide them with the appropriate environment to improve their skills.”

He explained that innovation is the basis for a sustainable development approach for the UAE Government in the coming years, saying that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has adopted the ‘higher policies’ of the UAE in the field of science, technology and innovation, including a AED 300 billion investment in 100 initiatives. “That reflects the interest of our wise leadership in innovation as a strategic option to continue the progress and growth. It also shows the government’s drive to reduce dependence on oil as a main source of income and transform the national economy to a knowledge-based economy. I do not doubt that the UAE will be among the most innovative countries within the next seven years.”

“The ecosystem for innovation in UAE has grown rapidly as Abu Dhabi 2030 vision gives lots of importance to the education sector and put it as a top priority to ensure the best outcome from the education process. Also, it is part of the leadership beliefs in the importance of investment in human capital and improve it by the highest international standards in the education sector, which has to adopt 21% of the UAE federal budget,” according to Al Nowais.

He explained that the Fund has focused on three main topics over the past eight years; spreading the culture of entrepreneurship, providing funding for the establishment of businesses, and then providing the necessary support system to ensure the continuation of these projects and reduce the risks factors.

“The Khalifa Fund has collaborated with number of entities and academic institutions to work on spreading entrepreneurship and training of entrepreneurs. The fund was able to organise nearly 470 training courses, benefiting about 7,000 Emiratis. Since its inception, The Khalifa Fund has financed more than 1,100 projects at a total cost of AED 1.4 billion,” explained Al Nowais.

He also pointed out the non-financial support system adopted by the fund, which includes financial, marketing, legal and other consultants in order to reduce the risk factors for the projects.

He told the audience that three years ago, the fund launched its ‘Ibtikari’ programme, a qualitative initiative for technical innovation projects. There was another initiative called the ‘Khalifa Fund Gateway’ in 2013 to create an interactive platform to enhance communication among entrepreneurs and to strengthen communication with the fund.

So far, 514 companies have registered in the gateway, and are benefiting from both financial and non-financial services.