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Masdar City and the Mohamed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund partner to cultivate entrepreneurship and economic development in the UAE and internationally

30 Jan 2022

4 min

Community of collaboration will see MBRIF Operators support Masdar City’s SME development efforts

Masdar City and the Mohamed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) today announced a strategic partnership designed to cultivate entrepreneurship and economic development in the UAE and at an international level.

The initiative between Masdar City, a pioneer in sustainability and a hub for research and development, and MBRIF, an initiative launched by the UAE Ministry of Finance to support innovation in the UAE, will extend support to innovative SME’s, while also sharing industry knowledge and collaborating to develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem at home and abroad. 

An extra pillar of the partnership will also see the MBRIF Guarantee Scheme and Innovation Accelerator, support Masdar City’s SME development efforts. 

Abdulla Balalaa, Executive Director, Masdar City, said, “Innovation is a cornerstone of great business development and growth, with the UAE further strengthening its position as a global hub for the growth of innovative ideas and offerings that propel solutions in a time of unprecedented change. Our partnership with the Mohamed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund is another step – and a hugely valuable one – on that growth path. It is our aim to not only cultivate entrepreneurship and economic development in the UAE and further afield but drive it and further it through the immense talent emerging from the region. These are exciting times ahead and we look forward to the opportunities that Masdar City and the Mohamed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund can work upon together.” 

For her part, Fatima Al Naqbi, Ministry of Finance representative of MBRIF remarked: “Since our inception, we have made significant strides in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem and enabling the growth of the diverse sectors in the UAE. We look forward to working closely with Masdar City by extending support to innovative SME’s and to taking this partnership to even greater heights.”

Shaker Zainal, Head of Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund, said, “MBRIF and Masdar City are like-minded partners underpinned by a shared vision to nurture and promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the UAE and beyond. With this new collaboration, we jointly seek to help local, regional and global businesses by giving them greater access to resources, funding, and mentorship in order to succeed in the UAE, through our unique platform.”

The new agreement is in line with ongoing efforts to build a robust business ecosystem and harness the innovative spirit of the UAE by attracting and developing firms of the future brimming with fresh ideas and technologies. MBRIF’s partnership with Masdar City will include development efforts from post-ideation to scale up, as well as provide domain knowledge and expertise on matters of funding to entrepreneurs interested in the Guarantee Scheme. Both entities will also be able to utilize each other’s human expertise, facilities, and technology where possible. 

Masdar City will refer community members interested in either or both, of the Innovation Accelerator and Guarantee Scheme, to join the MBRIF initiative, with the roles reversed for any entities enticed with Masdar City’s proposition to join its respective community.

Since the inception of MBRIF’s Accelerator program in December 2018, the initiative has brought together 83 members from diverse sectors of the economy, placing an emphasis on nurturing and growing local entrepreneurs to augment the domestic innovation base.

Masdar City is already home to more than 1,000 businesses, encompassing a variety of organizations - from multinationals and SMEs to homegrown startups - committed to advancing the sustainability agenda and spearheading the innovations to realize greener, more sustainable urban living. These include, among others, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the UAE Space Agency, Siemens, G42 Healthcare, the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) and its two pillar entities, Technology Innovation Institute (TII) and ASPIRE, Tabreed, Honeywell, and the world's first university dedicated to artificial intelligence, the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence.

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