ABU DHABI, 14th September, 2022 (WAM) — The Ministry of Economy, represented by The Entrepreneurial Nation, has launched a new initiative to attract Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to the UAE and help promote their growth and local and global expansion.
The initiative has been launched in collaboration with Flat6labs, a leading seed and early stage venture capital firm based in Abu Dhabi, through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to support the ‘Flat6lab Ignite’ programme.
The programme will be held from 28th August – 10th October, and will award a training session, an initial funding of AED550,000 and other benefits offered by The Entrepreneurial Nation to the winners, based on specific criteria.
The MoU was signed by Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary at the UAE Ministry of Economy; and Ryaan Sharif, General Manager of Flat6labs; in the presence of officials from both sides.
Al Saleh said, “The UAE attaches great significance to the entrepreneurial sector and it is a key pillar of our new economic model based on knowledge and innovation. Moreover, it plays an important role in the diversification of our national economy and promoting its global competitiveness, in line with the directives of our wise leadership and in line with the Principles of the 50 and the UAE Centennial 2071 goals.”
He explained that the new initiative emphasises the UAE’s strategic approach to empowering the entrepreneurial sector, by offering all the necessary prospects and tools for the growth of businesses through flexible and innovative legislation and incentives. These efforts are set to contribute to enhancing the participation of this vital sector in supporting GDP growth, strengthening the national innovation landscape, and consolidating the UAE’s position as a leading destination for entrepreneurs and startups from all over the world.
He added that the Ministry of Economy is continuing its efforts to establish partnerships with leading local and global entities that can contribute to the development of the UAE’s entrepreneurial sector. This will help ensure a highly supportive environment for this sector in the country in line with international best practices.
Under the terms of the MoU, several advantages and incentives will be available to companies that sign up for The Entrepreneurial Nation programme. These include two golden tickets for the winners to attend a four-day training session at the Flat6Labs headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
The training session, which has been designed according to the Lean Startup approach, will provide the participants with the required assistance and ensure that they know the basics of entrepreneurship. Other incentives include the opportunity to obtain initial funding of up to AED 550,000 and a four-month financing against shares programme.
Flat6Labs will also bear all expenses, including travel, accommodation, and visa costs for the winning companies from outside the country to come and participate in the training session in the UAE capital. These companies will also get strategic guidance, a training course with startups, experts, and academic partners to develop their entrepreneurial skills, and many other advantages and services provided by Flat6Labs’ partners.
Ryaan Sharif, General Manager of Flat6 Labs in the UAE, said, “We are proud to partner with the Ministry of Economy for this initiative, which will support the UAE’s journey to become a global hub for entrepreneurship. The initiative will enable startups to compete in local and global markets through Flat6labs Ignite programme, from which nearly 27 companies have graduated since its launch, and many of them have achieved success.”
As for the criteria for acceptance to the programme, the startup must be registered as a private company, and it must have a minimum viable product, with promising results for current use and future development, preferably with revenues.
In addition, one or more founding members of the venture must remain in Abu Dhabi through the duration of the programme, and must prove the urgent need for financing. The companies that receive financing under the programme must be willing to move their headquarters to the UAE and invest in existing entities with intellectual property, not a branch or subsidiary company. Several other criteria have also been set to ensure the quality of investments and improve the performance of SMEs.
The Entrepreneurial Nation was launched by the Ministry of Economy in November 2021. It has three main programmes, the SkillUp Academy, the StartUp Programme, and the ScaleUp Platform, designed to help enhance the skills of entrepreneurs and support entrepreneurial project owners in the country and from all over the world.
The programme helps them kick start their startup journeys in the business world on solid foundations that ensure the sustainable growth of their business activities and enhance their access to opportunities regionally and globally. The initiative makes it possible through a series of partnerships between the public and private sectors that support the objectives of the programme.
Flat6Labs has contributed significantly to raising innovation levels in the region’s startup landscape. It has also provided many opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs in the MENA region since its establishment in 2011, through a range of programmes aimed at accelerating the growth of startups. The Flat6labs Ignite programme is one of its leading programmes in the UAE and provides training by leading specialists in the basics of flexible incorporation for startups. It also has a seed-funding programme in partnership with ADQ, one of MENA’s largest holding companies.