The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has announced it will not think twice about funding good projects in the next 12 months, with entrepreneurs in the UAE's telecoms sector expected to make the most of the investment drive.
As regional newspaper The National reports, high smartphone use and the popularity of social media in the UAE is prompting entrepreneurs to build businesses in areas including crowdfunding, e-commerce and online services.
In the past, funding issues may have stopped small businesses from making the most of these opportunities, but with the Khalifa Fund prioritising tech in 2015, venture capital should be less of a issue.
Hussain Al Nowais, chairman of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, told The National how it has already opened talks with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, to help create the right infrastructure to support technology start-ups in the telecoms sector.
The shift in focus from Al Nowais and co. is set to further intensify the competition between the region's leading operators, du and Etisalat, in the small business market – which comprises 250,000 to 300,000 SMEs in the UAE, according to du.
Last year, Dubai announced it would invest Dh4.5 billion to create an innovation hub to attract and support tech companies.
The Khalifa Fund had financed about 800 projects by the end of last year, disbursing some Dh1 billion in loans as well as training, logistics, marketing and systems support.
This year it will streamline the approval processes by automating its systems, whilst providing entrepreneurs with digital tools to help them carry out feasibility studies and create business plans, Al Nowais said.