EDB, Sheraa and SCCI unveil first-of-its-kind Center of Excellence - Middle East News 247
July 18, 2024

EDB, Sheraa and SCCI unveil first-of-its-kind Center of Excellence

Emirates Development Bank (“EDB” or “the Bank”), the key financial engine of UAE economic development and industrial advancement, together with Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) announced today the launch of Sheraa’s Center of Excellence (CoE) for Advanced Manufacturing and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). This first-of-its-kind initiative in the UAE aims to advance the nation’s vision for innovation in the manufacturing industry by incubating and enabling the growth of advanced manufacturing startups while fostering an entrepreneurship culture in the country.

The new collaboration between the three strategic partners was marked by a group signing ceremony held at the EDB Connect-Sharjah Edition, represented by H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, EDB’s CEO; H.E. Najla Ahmed Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa); and H.E. Mohamed Al Awadhi, Director General of SCCI.

Together, EDB, Sheraa and SCCI will support the establishment and growth of startups in advanced manufacturing and facilitate essential connections between startups, industry leaders, and partners through tailored matchmaking initiatives and networking events, ensuring that startups have the resources and connections they need to thrive.

The CoE for Advanced Manufacturing and CPG will provide an array of services for startups from knowledge-sharing to market access to financing, to enable and support their growth from the nascent stages to more established phases. For early-stage businesses, EDB will provide SME incubation for up to three years which includes startup equity financing support and microfinance options to cover machinery and setup costs, in line with EDB’s mandate and credit policies. For more established SMEs, EDB will offer preferential financing terms for equipment purchases and working capital needs, alongside project financing for business expansion, including long grace periods of up to two years.

Also under the new partnership, SCCI will facilitate market entry and export opportunities, as well as provide industry expertise and support in conducting market research while Sheraa will orchestrate the implementation of valuable programs and offerings under the CoE, be responsible for selecting startups and entrepreneurs, and offering them mentorship and guidance with industry experts.

Boosting Strategic Partnerships

Commenting on the joint partnership, H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, said: “The launch of the UAE’s first Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing and CPG, in collaboration with Sheraa and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a foundational pillar designed to accelerate the adoption of advanced manufacturing techniques among UAE-based enterprises, in turn enhancing the in-country value of their offerings.

“By providing startups with access to critical resources such as mentoring, market access, capacity building, and research support, we are nurturing a robust ecosystem that aligns with the UAE’s aspirations to be a global leader in future technologies and industrial innovation. Manufacturing and advanced technology are two of the five priority sectors we support at EDB and Initiatives like this underscore the role of strategic partnerships in propelling economic growth and empowering SMEs by providing them with the necessary tools to access finance and thrive in a competitive global marketplace.”

H.E. Najla Ahmed Al Midfa said: “Sheraa’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing & CPG underscores Sheraa’s commitment to driving innovation within Sharjah’s and the UAE’s manufacturing sectors. This partnership fuels a new era of entrepreneurial spirit, dovetailing with Sharjah’s strategic vision to be a crucible for pioneering businesses. It will serve as a catalyst in  empowering startups to redefine industry innovation and bolster Sharjah’s position as a beacon of sustainable economic progress.”

H.E. Mohammed Ahmed Amin Al Awadi reaffirmed that the Chamber is committed to expanding its strategic partnerships with the aim of consolidating efforts to provide enhanced support to entrepreneurs and drive entrepreneurial growth across key sectors.

This involves creating a supportive environment conducive to the growth and prosperity of startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), encouraging them to engage and venture into innovation-driven industrial sectors.

These endeavors align with the national Industry and Advanced Technology strategy known as the “300 billion project”, which aims to facilitate and stimulate business activities and operations within the industrial sector, a vital component of sustainable economic development.

A quality addition

Al Awadi pointed out that the UAE’s industrial sector has long garnered widespread attention, owing to the visionary leadership’s recognition of its pivotal role and positive economic contributions to the country’s GDP, as well as its economic impact across all segments of society.

He asserted that the Sheraa Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing and CPG is a high-caliber and quality initiative that could significantly elevate the UAE’s sustainable industrial growth.

He elucidated that this initiative aims to reinforce the use of advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions, thereby bolstering the UAE’s stature as a premier industrial hub, which is renowned for its business-friendly environment, robust and promising investment regulations, and proactive initiatives that empower entrepreneurs and businesses to stay abreast of the rapid advancements in the technology world.

Sheraa’s Center of Excellence will offer a robust framework for promoting and participating in manufacturing events and activities. Access to EDB’s data will support market analysis, business model validation, and technological refinement for startups, while the collaboration with SCCI will propel the startups to export. Specialized capacity-building programs with industry experts and mentorship will equip startups with essential skills and knowledge to scale and navigate the manufacturing sector.

Last Updated on 3 months by Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

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