The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), a $549 million UAE federal government initiative led by the Ministry of Finance, has announced the first disbursement of its Fund, awarding InternsME.com, a Middle East-based internship job portal, as the first recipient.
The Fund focuses on innovating regional and global companies in seven major sectors – renewable and clean energy, transportation, education, technology, healthcare, space and water – but also considers companies from other business sectors that can contribute constructively to the country’s social and economic progress.
While anchored in the UAE, MBRIF aspires for a global reach to finance innovative companies around the world and attract them to the UAE to support the diversification of the country’s economy and position the UAE as the global hub for innovation. The Fund supports selected companies in accessing affordable finance through the provision of a government-backed guarantee.
MBRIF is open to companies that are already operational and beyond the idealisation stage, both globally and in the UAE. Eligible applicants are invited to register their project as intellectual property of the respective individual or company, and the initial stage of the project must already be established. The applications are then reviewed by a world-class advisory committee, with experts who are themselves innovators and pioneers in their fields.
The disbursement to InternsME.com was announced at a ceremony at the Youth Hub in Dubai, attended by His Excellency Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under Secretary at the UAE Ministry of Finance, and top officials from the Ministry of Finance, MBRIF, RAK Bank, Emirates Development Bank, and InternsME.com. RAK Bank serves as the lead lender for this deal while Emirates Development Bank is the Funds operator and host.
His Excellency Younis Haji Al Khoori said that the Fund underlines the strategic vision of the UAE government to provide support to the country’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape and brings to reality the UAE Innovation Strategy.
“The biggest challenge facing innovation–focused companies and entrepreneurs is that securing the crucial funding required to sustain their business. MBRIF is the critical partner that links these individuals and companies to banks and financial institutions in order to help them take their business to the next level. With the Ministry of Finance acting as a guarantor, we have created a platform for companies and entrepreneurs to access funding via banks,” he said.
“With this first disbursement, we are demonstrating our commitment to the youth in the UAE. Creating employment opportunities through internships not only improves the nation’s economy but also gives fresh graduates and university students an opportunity to be part of the workforce and contribute positively to the UAE,” Al Khoori pointed out.
Launched in late 2012, InternsME.com is an online portal that connects students and recent graduates to top employers across the Middle East for internships, trainee positions, part-time and full-time graduate job opportunities. The portal helps bright young talent kick-start their careers while also helping companies recruit and grow cost-effectively. InternsME.com was started by a team of passionate entrepreneurs to address the challenge faced by fresh graduates and university students in finding suitable employment in the region.