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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi expands support for entrepreneurs

Small businesses now able to operate from home to start with and dual licensing scheme offered to boost economic growth in response to stimulus package last week

Twofour54 in the capital's media zone is home to The National. The Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi has launched initiatives to help entrepreneurs take root and prosper in the country. The National
Twofour54 in the capital's media zone is home to The National. The Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi has launched initiatives to help entrepreneurs take root and prosper in the country. The National

The Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi announced initiatives aimed at supporting the emirate’s drive to accelerate economic growth over the next three years, including an extension to its entrepreneurship scheme to enable more small businesses to operate from home as well as encouraging and promoting licensing options to free zone partners.

“The new, forward-thinking initiatives ... will create more opportunities for all companies in Abu Dhabi," said Maryam Eid AlMheiri, chief executive of Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi and twofour54, the media zone located in the capital and which is home to The National. "By making it easier for private sector companies to do business, it will create more opportunities for growth.

“We have recently offered a dual licence to partners in the media zone to enable them to work with onshore companies and government entities,” she said.

In addition, the Media Zone said it was extending its entrepreneurships scheme to enable more small businesses to trade from home in the first two years as they get their businesses off the ground.

The move comes in response to the new Dh50 billion stimulus plan for Abu Dhabi announced last week by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, designed to help lift gross domestic product growth, increase consumption and revitalise the property market.

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The initiatives announced by Sheikh Mohamed also include allowing entrepreneurs to start their businesses from home, 10,000 new jobs for Emiratis in the private sector, and a dual licence for free zone firms.

“At the media zone, 37 per cent of our partner base are owned and operated by Emiratis who feel the need to be part of a creative community," said Ms AlMheiri.

The overall stimulus, which is nearly equal to the 2018 federal budget of Dh51.4bn, follows a series of measures that the emirate has taken to boost growth, create jobs and diversify its economy away from oil income.

Last month, the UAE Government said it planned to grant 10-year residency visas to certain expatriates and allow 100 per cent ownership in companies in selected sectors.

Economists had already forecast faster growth for 2018 thanks to higher government spending as Dubai prepares to host Expo 2020 and Abu Dhabi loosens its purse strings after cutbacks aimed at narrowing a fiscal deficit caused by the oil slump.

“The news of a stimulus package in Abu Dhabi is definitely welcome and comes along side efforts by various emirates to boost relatively weak economic growth,” Mohamed Abu Basha, head of economic research at Cairo investment bank EFG-Hermes, said last week.

Last month, the Central Bank of the UAE raised its economic growth forecast for 2018 to 2.7 per cent from its previous projection of 2.5 per cent thanks to an expected expansion in the non-oil sector despite slower year-on-year growth in the first quarter.