x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Khalifa Fund seeks 10 brave entrepreneurs

Would-be business owners could qualify for Dh10m in loans.

ABU DHABI // The Khalifa Fund yesterday unveiled 10 new business start-up ideas, inviting entrepreneurs to compete for the right to turn the concepts into commercial reality.

The 10 industrial projects, including the production of adhesive tape, aluminium foil containers and baby bottles, are among 50 initiatives in the Tasnea programme, which is designed to strengthen the UAE's manufacturing sector.

The scheme will also provide loans of up to Dh10 million to each project, with local companies including Emirates Steel and Abu Dhabi Basic Industries providing the raw materials.

The business opportunities were announced at the Industrial Investment Opportunities Forum, which took place at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

In an effort to develop the UAE's plastics and metals sectors and come up with business ideas, The Khalifa Fund prepared studies based on the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

Nelson Mathew, an industrial consultant at the Khalifa Fund, said the studies provided "mini-business plans that were good for the UAE environment".

"There has been some guidance that the industrial sector is a very important pillar of the economy," Najla al Midfa, the manager of the entrepreneurship development department at the fund, said. "If anything interests you, go do your research, see the industry, what's required, and apply to the fund," she told the forum.

Entrepreneurs can work on initiatives proposed by the fund or come up with original ideas, but established business people must contribute to at least 10 per cent of a project's funding.

Dr Ahmed Khalil al Mutawa, the chief executive of the Khalifa Fund, said that manufacturing made up only 7 per cent of the UAE's GDP, and that the nation had a goal of increasing that figure to 25 per cent by 2030.

Dr al Mutawa also said that investment in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector would help the UAE achieve its goals for the manufacturing industry and create job opportunities for nationals.

"Our target is to fund at least 20 industrial projects per year for the SME sector," he added.

cmalek@thenational.ae