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EDB to launch Dh1 billion investment fund for SMEs, start-ups

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on April 5, 2021
EDB will also complement its offering to companies and entrepreneurs with training, counselling and guidance for UAE citizens and residents.

EDB will act as a critical financial engine for the national industrial strategy Operation 300bn.

Emirates Development Bank (EDB) will launch a Dh1 billion investment fund for start-ups and SMEs in 2022 and targeting industrial companies in priority sectors that need financing and investment.

Under the EDB Strategy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday, the Bank allocated Dh30 billion for financing more than 13,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and create 25,000 jobs, mainly in industrial sectors. The EDB Strategy is part of “Operation 300bn” which was launched in March 2021.

The strategy extends the bank’s continuous role in advancing the national economy. Since its inception, the Bank has supported 550 companies, allocating Dh1.8 billion business loans to SMEs. The bank provided housing loans worth Dh2.4 billion, besides its $750 million 5-year Senior Bond under a $5 billion programme.

Sheikh Mohammed said advancing the national economy is a top priority that requires joint efforts of all the economic entities.

“We must adopt a distinctive vision that meets global trends and sustains development to maximise the industrial sector’s revenue and boost the broader economy,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“The Emirates Development Bank Strategy presents a giant leap that will leverage the bank’s role as a key driver of the national economy. Providing effective financial solutions will support the role of SMEs as main players in shaping our national economy,” he said.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of EDB, said the strategy is based on the Bank’s role as a key driver of the national economic development that provides a large support network for the industrial sector in line with the Industrial Strategy 2021-2031 objectives.

He said, “Operation 300bn is a comprehensive national programme aimed at enhancing the contribution of the industrial sector to the UAE’s sustainable economic growth. Through close collaboration, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Emirates Development Bank will extend support to large corporations, SMEs and entrepreneurs across various industries including healthcare, infrastructure, food security and technology.”

Al Jaber noted that EDB will act as a critical financial engine for the national industrial strategy Operation 300bn, alongside its continued mandate to provide Emiratis with housing finance.

EDB will also complement its offering to companies and entrepreneurs with training, counselling and guidance for UAE citizens and residents.

He said: “EDB will provide other tools including supply chain support, project financing, long-term financing, business accelerators, equity capital financing, and a business growth support fund.”

EDB priorities, according to Al Jaber, include establishing partnerships with UAE banks to extend financial services to small and medium industrial companies and increasing its direct financing by 73 per cent in 2021 to support priority sectors, while also focusing on underserved sectors with extensive financial solutions.

Saud Abu Al-Shawareb, managing director of Dubai Industrial City, said the launch of EDB Strategy is a continuation of the UAE's vision to increase manufacturing’s sector’s contribution and double the size of the industrial sector.

“From coffee to concrete, Dubai has demonstrated a growing ability to produce high-quality products that can compete with iconic brands around the world. As a global industrial hub, we are proud to have contributed to this growth and look forward to seeing this new strategy turbocharge an advanced manufacturing sector that leverages solar power, artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing to enhance the UAE’s knowledge and innovation-based economy,” he said.

Kamal Vachani, Group Director of Al Maya Group, said the new strategic programme to boost vital sectors in the country with a financing portfolio of Dh30 billion is a landmark initiative.

“Emirates Development Bank will play a key role with this huge financing to stimulate a group of vital sectors of the national priorities. Since the goal is to finance 13,500 new companies in the coming years, it will further boost investors’ confidence,” he said.

The UAE already leads in the Middle East and ranks 16th globally in terms of the Ease of Doing Business index, and with this new financial package, the nation will become an even more attractive business environment for local entrepreneurs and SMEs – especially those in priority industrial sectors.

Dr. Paul Hopkinson, Associate Head at Edinburgh Business School and Academic Lead for Heriot-Watt Online at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said: “The government's decision to invest AED 30bn in businesses and start-ups is an excellent initiative to diversify the UAE economy and support post-pandemic recovery. It will provide priority sectors with the much needed financial support, create new jobs, increase spending on research and development in the industrial sector and raise the contribution of the manufacturing sector. It will also accelerate industrial development by enabling the adoption of advanced technology.”

— waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com





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