Saturday 28, October 2017 by Jessica Combes

InternsME receives first disbursement from MBRIF

 

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), the AED 2 billion UAE federal government initiative led by the Ministry of Finance, has announced internship job portal, InternsME.com, 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. It also considers companies from other business sectors that can contribute constructively to the country’s social and economic progress.

The disbursement to InternsME.com was announced at a ceremony at the Youth Hub in Dubai, attended by HE 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.

Speaking about the first disbursement, 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. 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,” said Al Khoori.

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.

Interns ME Chief Executive Jean-Michel Gauthier said that MBRIF’s encouragement to innovative companies such as InternsME.com will further energise regional economies while enhancing the UAE’s global competitiveness and creating well-paying jobs for the younger generation.  “We thank the UAE Ministry of Finance, MBRIF, RAK Bank and Emirates Development Bank for recognising the importance of funding innovative companies such of–such as InternsME.com and the importance of our cause – in connecting companies to interns. In today’s knowledge-based economy, this encouragement is extremely critical. By working together, we are building the economy of the future, creating the jobs of today and tomorrow, and gearing up for global success that will benefit the youth of the UAE,” he added.

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 ideation 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.

In his statement, Haytham Kamhiyah, CEO of Emirates Development Bank, said that the bank looks forward to executing the mandate for MBRIF, fulfilling an important role in helping UAE innovators and entrepreneurs better contribute to society.

“Initiatives such as the MBRIF allow regional businesses to take advantage of our growth momentum, affording them the opportunity to increase investments in infrastructure and people. They also help entrepreneurs, innovators and community builders to benefit from new business and social opportunities as a result of the government’s vision to support innovation in a data-driven world,” said Peter England, CEO of RAK Bank.

Over the past few decades, the UAE’s efforts have culminated in its ranking first among the Middle East and North African countries and 35th globally among 127 countries in terms of performance in the 2017 Global Innovation Index. The UAE’s total investment in innovation is estimated at AED14 billion annually, AED 7 billion of which are allocated for research and development.