Who is eligible and what are the criteria? How to apply for the UAE's creative industries grants

Here's a guide to the National Creative Relief Programme, with applications now open

Freelancers, including photographers and videographers, are eligible for the National Creative Relief Programme. Getty Images
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Freelancers and small and medium-sized enterprises in the creative industry can now apply online for grants from the UAE government as part of the National Creative Relief Programme.

Grants range from Dh15,000 to Dh50,000.

The programme was announced by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development (MCKD) on Thursday, May 14, as part of its efforts to keep the creative industries afloat amid the coronavirus crisis.

MCKD began accepting applications on Sunday, May 17, and received 108 applications, 86 from freelancers and 22 from SMEs, on the first day.

Applications can be completed on the ministry's website and will close on Sunday, May 24, after which they will be reviewed by a committee.

Who is eligible?

Freelancers, both citizens and non-citizens residing in the country, can apply. Those with expired residencies can still apply.

Income for individuals must come from independent contracts, so those employed full time with a salary are not eligible.

Individuals must also hold commercial licences from development departments or free zones and must be over 18 years old.

Licensed SMEs within the cultural and creative sector can apply. The companies must have started their formal business operations before 2019 and must have less than 10 employees.

What factors will be considered?

The committee will look at a number of factors, including the size of loss sustained by the applicants resulting from cancelled projects and contracts between March and May.

The applicant's projected cash flow for the period of May to July will also be evaluated, as will their current business sustainability plan and track record of production in the country since 2019.

What areas of creative and cultural industries are included?

The National Creative Relief Programme covers several segments of the cultural and creative industries, including those working in the following:

  • Visual and performing arts, including fine art, photography, crafts, digital art, music, festivals and exhibitions
  • Audiovisual and interactive media, including movies and video, television and radio, interactive media, and electronic games
  • Press and Literature, such as writing for books, magazines, newspapers, libraries and archives
  • Natural and cultural heritage organisations such as museums, monuments, historical places, natural heritage and cultural education
  • Design and creative services, including fashion, architecture, jewellery, culinary arts, advertising, interior and landscape design, software and technology design

The documents you will need

1. copy of work permit (for freelancers)

2. copy of Emirates ID

3. copy of passport with UAE residency visa (can be recently expired)

4. official bank statements for the last 6 months

5. copies of cancelled contracts / works / agreements that affected the income in March, April and May

6. copies of financial commitments in May, June and July

Currently, the fund is supported by the UAE government, but the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development is also accepting contributions from individuals, patrons and companies to raise more money for applicants. The contributions will be handled by the CSR UAE Fund, a federal authority for corporate social responsibility in the UAE.

More information is at www.mckd.gov.ae