Dubai – September 21, 2022: The Ministry of Economy has announced the addition of more stakeholders to its NextGenFDI program, the landmark initiative designed to attract digitally enabled companies to the UAE. Launched in July, the program aims to target businesses from all over the world with a package of market entry fundamentals required to launch and scale from within the UAE, including rapid and flexible incorporation processes, fast-track licensing, bulk visa issuances, banking facilitation and commercial and residential lease incentives. The program has been devised to accelerate the UAE’s economic diversification agenda and elevating its status as a knowledge- and innovation-based economy.
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, oversees the country’s FDI and global talent agenda and believes the latest NextGenFDI partners will further assist the Ministry’s efforts to attract global technology firms, software developers, data scientists and coders to the UAE.
“The UAE’s advantageous business climate, supported by global connectivity and a highly skilled, multinational workforce, has long attracted companies, investors, industrialists and entrepreneurs from around the world. The NextGenFDI program, a key part of the UAE’s strategy to become a global hub for the industries of the future, now offers specialized support services to facilitate seamless, near-instant market entry for the most innovative, exciting digitally enabled companies and their people.
“The addition of key stakeholders adds to the compelling proposition, facilitating market entry, financial support and access to commercial and residential real estate to enable some of the most innovative, exciting digitally enabled companies and their people to seamlessly commence operations in a thriving part of the UAE. The program has already facilitated the relocation of several high-profile businesses and we are confident the latest stakeholders will accelerate this progress – and contribute to the dynamism of the country’s digital ecosystem.”
The latest group of stakeholders will expand the geographical reach, technological scope and customized support offered by the NextGenFDI program, providing an even more compelling suite of services available to companies seeking to set up and operate in the United Arab Emirates.
Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park), Sharjah Media City (Shams), Sharjah Islamic Bank and real estate company ARADA have come together to showcase the investment, banking, set-up and real-estate support available in the emirate of Sharjah. They are joined by Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), offering an additional free-zone option in the Northern Emirates, and G42 Cloud, which will provide flexible, scalable cloud solutions to ensure tech and digital companies are able to instantly establish operations. The recently opened Citizens School in Dubai will offer a next generational education for the families of companies coming into the UAE via the NextGenFDI program.
The newest stakeholders join the program’s first phase partners Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai South, Dubai Multiple Commodities Center (DMCC), Dubai Internet City, Emirates NBD and WIO Bank, who are already facilitating the entry of global tech companies from all over the world.
Sharjah lends its support to NextGenFDI
Mohamed Al Musharrakh, CEO of Sharjah FDI office (Invest in Sharjah) said, “Invest in Sharjah is delighted to partner with the UAE Ministry of Economy for the NextGenFDI Scheme. The UAE’s FDI inflows grew by four percent last year, and an ambitious initiative like NextGenFDI explains why the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2022 confirms the UAE as the nation with the highest potential for growth in the region. We are excited to play an active and meaningful role in bringing the national goal of becoming the world’s foremost knowledge-driven economy to fruition, as we continue to enhance our FDI competencies and global appeal as an incubator of innovation and future technologies.”
He added: “Technology- and innovation-driven companies from around the world who want to benefit from the NextGenFDI scheme with a base in Sharjah will not only have IIS’s full support with licensing procedures, expert consultations, single-window admin services and more, they will also have access to state-of-the-art, tech-driven environments like the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) – the world’s fastest-growing technology park – or have access to leading local talents from the American University of Sharjah, the only institute in the country that offers PhD programs. Here in Sharjah’s innovation-loving, multi-cultural and human-capital-rich environment, global talents in technology will thrive.”
Hussein Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the SRTI Park, said: “This is a very significant initiative that will give a huge boost to the UAE’s ambitious plans to be a leading knowledge-driven economy. The Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park is pleased to be part of this strategy as we are aligned with the UAE’s philosophy of bringing in the world’s best innovators to develop unique projects. By offering packages of incentives in a dynamic ecosystem, we have positioned ourselves as a global gateway for investors working in the technology and innovation sector, in particular fields such as transportation, construction, 3D printing, agriculture, energy and other technologies. Our Sharjah Global Accelerator for Advanced Industry (“Industry 4.0”) 2022 has attracted more than 1,600 participants from over 45 countries, with innovative projects in digitization and energy technologies.”
H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams), said: “The NextGenFDI initiative reflects the wise vision of the UAE leadership to strengthen the country’s global position as a destination for investments and a hub for major innovative technology and digital companies. The UAE has delivered major achievements in attracting foreign investments, especially in technology, which is a pillar of building a sustainable economy that can handle global challenges and changes, enhancing the country’s competitiveness. We are pleased to cooperate with NextGenFDI in order to enhance the efforts of Sharjah Media City as an investment destination for digital and technology companies operating in the media sector, which supports our endeavors to make our free zone a global hub for media and creativity in the region.”
His Excellency added: “Sharjah Media City’s objective is to attract more investments to build a vibrant and dynamic business community in the emirate and the UAE. Additionally, we seek to support innovative ideas to turn them into projects capable of enhancing the local and regional media scene, and to give rise to new entrepreneurs – efforts that have culminated in many initiatives in creative fields such as podcasts, e-sports, graphic design, and others. Since its establishment, Shams has gained the trust of many companies working in the field of digital technology, with a total 1,957 now registered. By partnering with NextGenFDI, we aspire to achieve more growth and attract more technology and digital companies operating in the media sector.”
His Excellency Mohamed Abdalla, CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB), stressed that development of the digital economy is a significant priority for the nationand that, as a result, the UAE is an ideal incubator for digital companies, from establishment through to global expansion. He said: “The NextGenFDI, launched by the Ministry of Economy in partnership with leading authorities in the public and private sectors, including Sharjah FDI office ‘Invest in Sharjah’, will enhance the nation’s ability to attract emerging companies supported by young talent and creative minds, and achieve diversity, wealth and sustainability in the local economy.”
His Excellency added: “Sharjah Islamic Bank is one of the first financial institutions to succeed in developing a package of commercial services and innovative solutions specifically designed for tech investments, including digital companies, platforms, and smart applications. The package enables these companies to conduct business efficiently by reducing start-up costs, streamlining the process for opening bank accounts, and providing services for the benefit of beneficiaries.”
His Excellency pointed out that the SIB is keen to expand and develop services to improve the experience for customers, entrepreneurs and digital companies, regardless of size or location. He said that operations conducted by such projects relate to urgent financial needs and electronic payments, which must be met and delivered to the highest international standards.
Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, Group CEO of Arada, said: “As the largest developer of mixed-use communities in Sharjah, we are delighted to take part in an initiative that will bring much-needed skills, knowhow and experience to Sharjah and the UAE. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Economy and our other partners to bring the brightest and best tech companies and individuals from around the world to this country, and are committed to creating an attractive, competitive and welcoming ecosystem that facilitates all their requirements.”
Expanding the service offering
Ramy Jallad, Group CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, expressed his delight at joining the initiative. “We are thrilled to be part of the Ministry of Economy’s initiative of making the nation a hub for business, investment and innovation by attracting talent from the world of technology. Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone’s efforts in boosting the country’s FDI are in tune with this vision. The very first step being, our own digital transformation for becoming more accessible to investors across the world. One of our key roles, is to ensure new investors get every possible support they need to get their business up and running in the emirate efficiently,” he said.
He added, “Our growing business ecosystem, housing more than 15,000 global brands in diverse sectors, creates a conducive environment for international tech entrepreneurs. The community itself creates B2B opportunities by seeking technological solutions. To top it off, supportive governmental incentives like the NextGenFDI are set to help more tech businesses sustain and thrive.”
Talal Al Kaissi, CEO of G42 Cloud, said: “As the region’s largest cloud services provider, we are excited to join forces with the Ministry of Economy on this strategic NextGen FDI growth initiative. Through our platform, we plan to enable the UAE’s economic growth and support technology companies through direct access to our cloud infrastructure. We hope to support the Ministry’s goal in enabling businesses to utilize the UAE as a sandbox for innovation by offering our digital solutions and support.”
Dr Adil Alzarooni, Founder of the Citizens School, stated, “Citizens is incredibly honored to be part of the NextGenFDI Initiative and is committed to offering future-focused educational programs to foreign investors and their families in a vibrant, welcoming and inclusive environment. We firmly believe that the UAE’s economic future will be as strong as the quality of education we provide.”
The Ministry of Economy launched NextGenFDI in July 2022, to encourage digitally empowered companies set up operations in the UAE. Within just a few weeks of launch, UK tech company Gödel, food app development company Krush, Gecko Robotics and several others committed to the program.