To allow entrepreneurs and startups in the UAE to secure capital for their business initiatives, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, has recently launched a new digital crowdfunding platform called “Dubai Next.”
The platform will serve as an ideal launching pad for innovators and entrepreneurs to present their projects and ideas to potential investors, besides providing enterprises with opportunities to promote their products in the market. Dubai Next aims to create a thriving ecosystem wherein local communities contribute to the steady growth of enterprises, irrespective of their size, by supporting their initiatives through crowdfunding solutions.
Crowdfunding – a type of alternative finance – refers to the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of capital from a large group of people, usually through the Internet.
According to Sheikh Hamdan, who is also the Chairperson of the Dubai Executive Council, “the Dubai Next platform will contribute to stimulating positive competition and encouraging youth to put forward innovative ideas as well as obtain community support through crowdfunding. It will also empower a generation that is capable of innovating to succeed in a competitive commercial environment, thus reinforcing the fundamental role of SMEs in economic development so that the UAE can continue to stand as a model for youth empowerment.”
Dubai SME will reportedly handhold firms securing capital through Dubai Next and incubate their business ideas in either the Hamdan Innovation Incubator or one of the 14 approved incubators based in Dubai. This move will help the firms operate in a dedicated work environment to grow their business ideas into potential contributors to its economic growth. The Crown Prince emphasized that Dubai SMEs had played a constructive role in giving a significant thrust to entrepreneurship activities in the UAE and creating the right environment for business activities.
Founded in 2002, Dubai SME has been supporting startups and SMEs, which constitutes 95 percent of companies, employs 42 percent of the workforce, and contributes 40 percent of the GDP in the Emirate, according to the latest report by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Speaking on the new digital crowdfunding platform, Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said, “Dubai Next is fully aligned with the Dubai SME’s mission to create platforms that promote entrepreneurship. Dubai SME’s efforts to provide innovative financing solutions to SMEs are in line with our leadership’s directives to create an ideal environment for supporting innovative ideas and initiatives by ensuring that at least 50 % of the funding required is obtained through crowdfunding.”
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