The recent tour of the Northern Emirates by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, fuelled the decision to expand the Khalifa Fund's remit to the whole of the UAE, says the fund's chairman.
Hussain al Nowais said it was now more important than ever to look after the well-being of UAE citizens and give entrepreneurs the skills to succeed.
Sheikh Mohammed ordered an increase in the fund's capital this week to Dh2 billion (US$544.5 million) from Dh1bn and expanded its remit to cover all emirates, not just Abu Dhabi.
Discussions on the Khalifa Fund's expansion began in June last year, but the recent tour of the Northern Emirates "triggered an acceleration" of this change, Mr al Nowais said.
"His Highness realised that we needed to do it and we did," he said.
The move is part of the UAE's wider bid to increase standards of living for the Northern Emirates and promote economic growth.
This month Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, ordered Dh5.7bn of investment in electricity and water infrastructure in the region.
Mr al Nowais hopes the fund can inspire Emiratis and create an environment of success throughout the UAE.
"I for one, do not believe in spoon-feeding," he said.
"You can only bring the horse to water. We offer the training, the funding and the guidance for individuals to succeed but they have to drive that success."
Mr al Nowais is also the chairman of several companies and institutions, including Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation and Emirates Steel. He is on the board of the Abu Dhabi Economic Development Council.
"This country has been blessed with many resources and we have a leadership that wants the benefits of these to be passed on to the people," he said.
"Improving the standard of living for individuals is the number one priority for the Executive Council and one of the vehicles to do this is the Khalifa Fund."
The fund will open a branch in Fujairah, which will also look after Ras al Khaimah, "within weeks", Mr al Nowais said.
A branch in Ajman will be open by the end of June. It will receive applications for finance from entrepreneurs in Umm al Qaiwain and Sharjah.
Emiratis who live in Dubai will be able to apply to the Khalifa Fund or the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for support.
The Khalifa Fund extends financing to between 50 and 60 projects each year in Abu Dhabi and expects to fund a similar number in the Northern Emirates.
The fund is hiring staff and putting together an analysis of the needs of economic sectors in the Northern Emirates.
Financing will be given to Emiratis with "interesting and commercial" ideas, Mr al Nowais said. But projects would also be offered to entrepreneurs depending on whether the fund saw an economic gap or a commercial opportunity.
The fund's micro-finance scheme, called Khutwa and offering up to Dh250,000 in finance, will be a high priority.
Another programme, the Bedaya scheme, will continue to offer Dh3m in finance, while the recently launched industrial scheme, called Tasnea, will not be pushed as extensively elsewhere as in Abu Dhabi.
"At the beginning we will emphasise Khutwa and Bedaya because it's about capability building, and Tasnea is more sophisticated and requires more experience," Mr al Nowais said.