Over AED 1.5 bn invested in humanitarian and developmental initiatives in 2016: VP 2nd add

Investing in innovation, looking toward the future and supporting projects that promote entrepreneurship are key components of MBRGI’s initiatives; the total expenditure on innovation-related initiatives and entrepreneurship was AED 377 million in 2016.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME) works to create a business-friendly environment for Dubai’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Since its launch in 2002, Dubai SME has stimulated growth and development in the sector by supporting 23,000 Emirati entrepreneurs, investing AED 282 million, and helping to launch 4,152 companies. Award incentives were also distributed, including the Young Entrepreneurs’ Award, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Awards, the, Drones For Good and UAE AI & Robotics for Good awards and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award.

The Museum of The Future is set to become Dubai’s epicentre of innovation, and will contain laboratories specialising in research and development in the fields of health, education, smart cities, energy and transportation. The museum is an element of the Dubai Future Foundation, which also supports innovation through its Dubai Future Accelerators programme, bringing together tech pioneers with government entities in Dubai to accelerate the development of smart government. By 2016, Dubai Future Accelerators had built partnerships with 33 companies and institutions from nine countries across the world.

Empowering communities, promoting positive dialogue, developing media discourse and instilling hope in the region are an important and growing pillar of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. Total expenditure in these areas amounted to AED 79 million in initiatives, training programmes, forums and awards.

Within this framework, Arab Hope Makers was launched early 2017 to honour humanitarian and community programmes, projects and initiatives and celebrate those who seek to help others and make a positive difference in their communities and the lives of others. Within a month of its launch, the initiative received over 65,000 nominations from across the Arab World; the top five ‘Arab hope makers’ were honoured at a special ceremony which aimed to not only celebrate them but also grant the most inspirational story from among them an award of AED 1 million. In the event, Sheikh Mohammed announced he was extending the award to all five of the finalists.

The Middle East Exchange (MEE) is another aspect of MBRGI’s work in building a more positive narrative for the region. MEE is a platform for sharing new ideas, inspirations and innovations in the Middle East, aiming to stimulate and encourage frank, open and constructive debate around development issues in the region today. Working with leading newspapers across the Arab World, MEE presents a weekly digest of inspirations, solutions and novel approaches to regional issues and opportunities created by an international team of writers and contributors. Through 2016, MEE articles attracted 3.2 million readers per month.

MBRGI also launched the National Tolerance Programme, which is aligned with the UAE’s keenness to consolidate the values of tolerance, multiculturalism and acceptance, and reject discrimination, hatred and intolerance. MBRGI seeks to reach out across the Arab world, especially to young people, and spread a peaceful message through transparent and ethical media.

The Arab Media Forum, established in 2001, has provided a platform for prominent experts from Arab media and their global counterparts. In 2016, the event attracted more than 40 speakers and provided the opportunity for partnerships with local, regional, national and international media organisations to connect and share best practices. Since its launch, the forum has attracted more than 30,000 participants.

Each year the Arab Journalism Awards are presented, awarding 17 winners in 2016 for their creativity and professionalism. The awards honour outstanding and distinguished journalists to boost their role in serving the community and being the voice of the Arab World.

In its second round in 2016, the Arab Social Entrepreneurs Summit attracted a large number of candidates from over 21 countries, who shared their knowledge and experiences in social media. The Arab Social Media Influencers’ Summit was launched in 2015 to bring together experts and social pioneers from across the world to discuss the opportunities and challenges of supporting positive communication within and about the Arab World. The summit also includes the Arab Social Media Influencers Award, which awarded 40 people in 2016.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development aims to empower UAE nationals to become entrepreneurs and government leaders by providing them with knowledge, skills and expertise. In 2016, the centre organised various activities for the Young Leadership Programme, which seeks to develop leadership skills in the youth, including tours and field visits to various countries in order for members to learn best practices and build networks with numerous institutions.

The Arab Strategy Forum is MBRGI’s primary platform to share ideas about the future of world. In 2016, Dubai hosted the ninth session of the Arab Strategy Forum, with the participation of numerous decision makers and political and economic experts, who discussed the state of the region and the world.

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, meanwhile, raises awareness and improves understanding of different cultures and religions amongst the multicultural population and the millions of tourists welcomed annually in the UAE.

In 2016, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards highlighted sporting talent, supporting disabled sportspeople, aiding research, strengthening the role of women in the field of sports and developing quality sports.

The 11th Dubai International Sports Conference in 2016, attended by world famous soccer players, referees, managers, agents, and even presidents, debated the issue of good governance in sports management.

On its launch in 2015, MBRGI set itself ten goals for 2025, in its overall vision to promote humanity in all fields and address the most pressing obstacles to development and creating the right environment for a prosperous future.

Among these goals is supporting and empowering 2 million families, investing AED 500 million in innovative water solutions and AED 1.5 billion in initiatives to spread education and knowledge, encouraging students to read 500 million books, supporting 20 million students’ education and translating 25,000 educational resources to Arabic. Also, MBRGI seeks to invest AED 2 billion in research centres and hospitals in the region, and to treat 30 million people from blindness and eye-related issues. Other objectives include supporting and training 50,000 young entrepreneurs, investing AED 5.5 billion in innovation incubators, supporting 5,000 innovators and researchers, and supporting the establishment of companies to provide 500,000 job opportunities.

Moreover, MBRGI seeks to dedicate awards worth AED 150 million to encourage creators, intellectuals and media professions, attracting one million participants, and to invest AED 600 million in spreading the value of tolerance.

A look at MBRGI’s results and achievements for 2016, less than two years after its inception, indicate that MBRGI is not only on the way to meeting its objectives, but it is also on the way to surpassing them.

Source: Emirates News Agency