Funding is no more an issue for startups, SMEs
Sultan Ali Rashed Lootah, chairman and managing director, co-founder, Relam Investment. - Supplied photos
Published: Mon 15 Apr 2019, 6:18 PM
Last updated: Mon 15 Apr 2019, 9:03 PM
The UAE's entrepreneurial risk and appetite are both growing as more and more funding programmes come to forefront to encourage the youth to display their talent and innovation as technology supersedes all the sectors of the economy. The growing number of startups, incubators, mentors covering the entire ecosystem in the UAE makes the market very competitive and encourages the youth to press forward with latest innovations.
The UAE government - both Abu Dhabi and Dubai - has been at forefront to offer all the requires support for the startups to unlock their potential and help the nation build better and smarter tomorrow.
Dubai-based Relam Investment - founded in 2018 - through a partnership between Vault Investments - diversified investment company established in 2012, Dubai - and MIG Holdings. Relam now focuses on investments in Vietnam, Thailand, UAE, Middle East, UK, Turkey, Far East and South East Asia.
"Relam Investment started an initiative called Relam Star to support growing technology companies through a dedicated fund. Relam through its accelerator programme called Relam Star will challenge the startups and SME's to showcase their ideas, challenges to grow to the next level and as a result of this fund, winners will be awarded funding according to the programme funding procedures and the uniqueness of the entrepreneur's idea," said Sultan Ali Rashed Lootah, chairman and managing director, co-founder, Relam Investment.
Sultan Lootah occupies the role of the Chairman and CEO of Hetachain and Managing partner of Vault Investments currently, as well as being the Chairman of Emirati- Norwegian chamber of commerce in Oslo and the Chairman of Vietgate General trading.
The venture is self funded and investments have been strategically diversified into various sectors. "We have invested in real estate projects in Vietnam and are in the next level of discussion in India and Egypt. We have also invested in technology projects in public sector in UAE on BOOT (Build Own Operate and Transfer) model. We are in the next stage of discussion in the F&B and retail where we have signed up with one the renowned UK company which has well-known brands for UAE," said Lootah. "We have invested in the field of technology to support different apps and companies more than $6 million and have dedicated $50 million to support startups."
Relam Star eveolved after a through study on the top areas of technology where it covered cross technology sectors fintech, blockchain, shared economy, fleet management, services sector and any other upcoming sectors. We hope to achieve successful outcome from this programme from an investment point of and corporate social responsibility to our society, informs the co-founder.
Nagesh A Prabhu, chief program officer, Relam Investment, said: "We all know that success in investing is the antithesis of simple. We at Relam look forward towards engaging and encouraging the ideas which are futuristic and can make difference to the world. We would like to utilise our connections globally, thereby assisting the entrepreneurs to reach out to the arenas where they can accelerate and bring in a change. We also would be assisting these entrepreneurs to connect to various sectors to explore the possibility to synergise and collaboratively work to create a new line of business. We would like to invest deeply in the development of cutting-edge technologies that syndicate easy of use with unparalleled flexibility to arrest costs and improve productivity."
Lootah opines that the UAE government is playing a critical role in shaping the country's culture and creating an entrepreneurial environment where both failures and successes are celebrated, and where people are encouraged to better oneself economically through hard work and risk taking. In order to make the start-up ecosystem run we must concentrate as many technology startups as possible in fun neighborhoods. Provide rent subsidies, free Wi-Fi and make sure there are great coffee shops.
"What's happening now in the UAE is the funds are driven from government and we would like to thank the government for the total support for the SME sector for UAE. But we believe the private sector should also contribute where they will also support the growth of the companies using their market knowledge, they interest of investment growth and their forecast in each business area," said Lootah.
"We in Relam investment believe that the backbone of any economy is SMEs. Relam Investment realised the importance of investing in SME sector specially in technology as technology showed a huge growth globally making the top economy drivers falls into technology area. Having said that and coming from technology background, I strongly foresee technology overcoming a lot of sectors to be the main enabler rather than being a tool to enhance different sectors," concluded Lootah.- firstname.lastname@example.org
Relam Investment started an initiative called Relam Star to support growing technology companies through a dedicated fund.