The Dubai Future Foundation, DFF, has signed agreements with a number of universities and organisations in Dubai as part of the activation and implementation of the 6th Article of the 50-Year Charter, which reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to transform universities into economic and creative free zones that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among students.
The signing ceremony was attended by Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation, Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary-General of the UAE Cabinet, Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Dubai.
It was also attended by Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, Malek Al Malek, Group CEO of TECOM Group, and a group of government officials and universities representatives.
During the meeting, the University Entrepreneurship Programme was launched to accelerate the implementation of the Dubai University Free Zones Strategy in collaboration with various government entities, universities and research bodies. Universities adopting the programme include Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology, University of Dubai, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, American University in Dubai, and the College of Fashion and Design in Dubai.
The programme was developed in collaboration with Dubai Future Foundation, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises, SME, TECOM and In5 to provide funding opportunities for entrepreneurs and facilitate access to commercial licensing. Additionally, the Dubai Government Legal Affairs Department, Dubai Government Media Office, AREA 2071, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund have also contributed to the establishment of the newly announced programme.
On the occasion, Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance said, “The ministry is keen to support and promote the innovation environment in the UAE through the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund initiative, by partnering and activating channels of cooperation with various entities and institutions from the public and private sectors.”
“The University Entrepreneurship Programme embodies the vision of our leadership in supporting students to create their businesses so that universities graduate successful student entrepreneurs. The Fund will continue to study and evaluate innovative projects and ideas to support them,” he added.
Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Dubai, said that it reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.
Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department noted, “This project aims to pave the way for future generations to be pioneers and innovators in all sectors and fields.”
Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, praised the efforts of the Dubai Future Foundation in translating the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for the expected role of youth in enhancing and developing the economic sector of the UAE.
Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said this initiative represents a practical step towards the activation of the outcomes of the free zones strategy which was announced in March this year by Sheikh Hamdan, who is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of DFF.
Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, a subsidiary of TECOM Group, said, “Many of the objectives of the free zones strategy intersect with the objectives of the business incubator In5, especially in the areas of talent adoption and investment. We have been able to support more than 200 start-ups and facilitate their financing for growth and expansion so far.”
Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said, “The programme will create the best environment for university students in the UAE to express their ideas, showcase their talent and launch a variety of innovative projects.”