As part of its commitment to boost the initiatives it runs in alignment with the strategic directives of the UAE government, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced today the launch of the next phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), which aims to manage and operate the fund and its programmes under one national umbrella.
The next phase will create an integrated work environment that supports innovation and will integrate all the services the fund provides in a way that benefits its innovative members – another step that helps achieve the UAE's aspirations to be among the best countries in the world. During this phase, the Emirates Development Bank (EDB) will operate the two programmes of the MBRIF, namely the Innovation Accelerator programme and the Guarantee Scheme.
H.E. Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, noted the importance of this launch, as it activates the fund's role in supporting the UAE's transition to a knowledge-based economy. It will also help create solutions that support the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071 and the UAE National Innovation Strategy, thus achieving the UAE's development vision to be among the most innovative countries in the world.
H.E. said: “MoF is keen to contribute to the UAE's future by bolstering its innovation system and working closely with the public and private sectors to enable them to innovate in the country. This launch comes within the ministry and the EDB's continuous efforts to link and integrate all of the fund's services, in a swift and easy manner, under one national umbrella that falls in line with the UAE government's plans and strategies."
H.E. added: “Thanks to the unlimited support of the wise leadership, the UAE's innovation system continues to flourish. It harnesses emerging technologies and innovative ideas to provide an enabling environment for innovators to develop solutions that face current and future global, regional and local challenges - thus reiterating the UAE's position as a global innovation hub."
Mr. Faisal Al Bastaki, CEO of Emirates Development Bank (EDB) said, “The launch of this new phase is part of our mandate to manage and operate MBRIF under one umbrella, providing end-to-end support for startups through the Innovation Accelerator programme and the Guarantee Scheme funding programme which is guaranteed by the Government. Through the Innovation Accelerator, we aim to maximise the growth potential of innovative startups with access to customised world-class coaching and mentoring through an ecosystem of global experts and partners."
Mr. Al Bastaki added, “The Guarantee Scheme is in line with the UAE Government's vision of supporting innovative projects through innovative financing, to enable them to continue to thrive. Overall, the two programmes will help to create work and business opportunities to boost economic development in the UAE."
Approximately 880 applications from 65 countries were submitted to the Fund's Guarantee Scheme and Innovation Accelerator programme from 2016 to 2020, and over 120 partnership opportunities have been facilitated to support the members' projects. The MBRIF currently has 43 members, 25 of which are headquartered in the UAE, and are supported by 30 specialists from various sectors. Additionally, in the same period, members of the fund collected AED 171.9 million.
Over the past four years, the MBRIF members achieved remarkable growth and success. With the support of experts, various members have expanded their operations and boosted their revenues, and many of them have won distinguished awards in their respective fields. In the 2019 GITEX future stars, two MBRIF member companies won prizes: Key2enable, a start-up that provides innovative solutions for people of determination, won first prize in the Supernova 2019 challenge, and Pure Harvest, the UAE based, agri-tech start-up won the accolade of best GCC, Middle East and North Africa startup.
Pakistani startups saw $18M invested in H1 2020, with the overall number of deals increasing by 13% to 17 deals from H1 2019, illustrating the potential of Pakistan to become the next big South Asian entrepreneurial hotspot. Discover more trends in our H1 2020 Pakistan Venture Investment Report.