Led by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development (MCKD) and launched in May, the fund offers Dh15,000 to Dh50,000 grants to individuals and small businesses in the creative fields who are undergoing financial difficulties because of the pandemic.
The recipients of the grants primarily include those in the performing arts, multimedia arts and visual arts. The funds will be able cover the entirety of freelancers’ financial obligations for a month, and 70 per cent of SME’s financial obligations for a month.
In determining the grantees, MCKD evaluated factors such as the loss of income for individuals and SMEs, and considered the sustainability of their businesses in the coming months.
Since its announcement, the National Creative Relief Programme received applications from 58 nationalities currently residing in the UAE.
Noura Al Kaabi, the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, said in a statement that the government is “studying to develop policies that will enable the growth” of the creative sector.
She also pointed out the obstacles faced by creative professionals and entities, including issues such as freelance licenses and Intellectual Property protection. “Among the challenges that were presented in the process, the most prominent one was the legislative and regulatory environment in the cultural sector. This includes encouraging individuals to obtain freelance licenses to continue to practice in the cultural sector and organise their work and projects for such incentives,” she said.
“The Ministry is also working on the advancement of Intellectual Property protection and its governance to encourage authentic and original creative production within the country,” she added.
She hinted that the ministry is working with external partners, such sponsors and companies, to provide additional support to cultural and creative sectors. Currently, the National Creative Relief Programme is accepting financial support from patrons to add to the fund, a process that is done in partnership with the CSR UAE Fund, a federal authority for Corporate Social Responsibility in the UAE.
Al Kaabi also highlighted the “urgent need for government intervention” to keep the creative ecosystem going, adding that the second phrase of the programme will be announced “soon”.
MCKD has stated that those who were not successful in the first phase of the programme can apply for the second phase.
The programme is open to freelancers, citizens and non-citizens, as well as small businesses with fewer than 10 employees.