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VP inaugurates e-platform of ’Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation’
(21 November 2016)

 

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, stressed the importance of long-term investment in innovation and supporting UAE innovators and enabling them to turn their ideas into innovative projects that benefit people. 

''Supporting UAE innovators is a key pillar of the future work and efforts of the government to embed the concept of innovation into corporate cultures and society,'' stated HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. 

HH’s visited the ‘Innovation Festival’, which is organised by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and is taking place on November 21st – 22nd, 2016, to celebrate the UAE’s Innovation Week. During the event, HH Sheikh Mohammed inaugurated the ‘Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation’s’ operational phase and the e-platform, which is set to receive funding requests from applicants. 

During his speech, HH also said the UAE government has worked to create an environment for innovation incubators by adopting models for financial and moral support that work on building capacities and upgrading national competencies. HH emphasized that in order to support innovation, there must be an effective cooperation and participation between society and the public and private sectors, which is thereby essential for the development and growth of various sectors. 

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the first operational phase of the ‘Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation’, and took part in an introductory tour where he reviewed the festival’s events. HH Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by Younis Haji Al Khouri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, a number of executives from the Ministry, representatives from government entities and festival participants. 

HH Sheikh Mohammed commenced his tour by attending the Hackathon challenge which is implemented by MoF in cooperation with Microsoft. The Hackathon is an intense programming activity which takes place for 36 hours and includes 100 students from six different universities in UAE. The Hackathon develops innovative applications which serve the key sectors of the National Innovation Strategy. This activity received great interest where more than 200 students applied and 100 students have been shortlisted. 

HH Sheikh Mohammed also attended several workshops specialised in business development, organised by MoF in cooperation with 20 different entities from the private sector. The workshops discussed several topics including innovative thinking, the transition from an idea to an invention, virtual reality and an introductory session on how to apply to the ‘Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation’. His Highness also attended the ‘Young Innovators’ workshop for school children aged between 8 and 12 years, where attendees learnt about the design, programming and the use of robotics by using simple and accessible tools. 

The ‘Innovation Festival’ provided a platform for innovators, government representatives, entrepreneurs, investors, participants, SME owners and visitors to network together. The platform enables them to present their creative ideas to interested investors from the public and private sector in order to collaborate and further develop those ideas commercially. The festival also presented the ‘innovation challenge’ that identify three challenges in health, environment and education sectors, and present them to a group of innovators round the world, in order to receive their suggested innovative solutions. The Ministry received 65 innovative solutions from innovators from 21 different countries, and the three finalists met with the related federal entity to review, evaluate and study their solutions and the possibility of implementing them. The winners will be honoured by at the end of the festival. 

Younis Haji Al Khouri emphasised the importance of investing in innovation and promoting communication between different parties to benefit individuals, society and the national institutions in the long term, to support the development of the UAE and to ensure that it incorporates the latest scientific and technological changes globally. 

"We need to promote the values of innovation amongst our society. Government entities and the private sector have to cooperate and work on strengthening the innovative culture amongst members of our community as well as enhance our approach to it. The UAE Innovation Week represents an important platform to research different practical ideas and encourage creative ideas, which will change our societies for the better,'' he said. 

Al Khouri praised the Fund’s aim, which aims to raise the level of national innovation to higher standards, and supports individuals during their innovation journey in addition to providing funding solutions and the appropriate environment to assist them in transforming their ideas and innovations into projects that support the National Innovation Strategy and achieve the UAE Vision 2021. 

Al Khouri highlighted the promising prospects of innovative pioneers in the UAE and the importance of the e-platform of the "Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation" and its role in supporting innovation incubators, building national capabilities, motivating the private sector, and promoting global partnerships. 

Furthermore, he stated that the Fund’s team will study and evaluate the funding requests and will discuss them with experts in related entities, in order to determine their compliance with the Fund’s standards, and to successfully meet the commercial side of transforming those creative ideas into successful projects. The applicants need to provide long-term plans for their projects supported by a study in order to qualify them to receive the required funding. 

"The Fund will provide much needed support for innovation in the UAE through facilitating the requirements of projects and by reducing financial risks to strengthen the sustainable development of their businesses. The Fund will also provide a number of services designed to accelerate the process of driving innovation, support innovative entrepreneurs in developing their business locally and internationally and increase their chances of receiving the technical support and the required financing in cooperation with the public and private sectors," he added. 

The ‘Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation’ reduces the financing gap for innovative projects, supports national and economic objectives, and contributes to building a diverse national economy based on innovation. The Fund will effectively transform the UAE’s economy into a diversified, flexible and knowledge-based economy to achieve sustainable development in line with the National Innovation Strategy and to achieve the UAE’s ambition to become one of the most innovative governments globally within 2021. 

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, and a number of MoF officials and representatives of other government entities participating in the event. 

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