ADGM teams up with UAE digital lender Zand Bank to support SMEs

The two entities plan to offer finance training programmes, SME financing platforms and a FinTech sandbox

The Abu Dhabi Global Market. Zand Bank will allocate a help desk to support ADGM employees and incorporated entities. Victor Besa / The National
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Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the UAE capital's financial hub, has partnered with Zand Bank, the digital lender licensed by the UAE Central Bank, to support small and medium enterprises in the country.

The agreement will focus on providing preferential banking services for ADGM-licensed entities, including SMEs, virtual assets companies, funds and corporations, the two entities said in a statement on Monday.

SMEs incorporated in ADGM will also be offered access to SMEsouk, Zand’s digital platform for SMEs.

As per the agreement, ADGM and Zand Bank will also support the placement of Emiratis and offer finance training programmes, SME financing platforms, a FinTech sandbox and corporate innovation programmes.

“SMEs exist as one of the main pillars of economic diversification in the UAE and Abu Dhabi. They are important contributors to ADGM’s vibrant ecosystem,” Dhaher Al Mheiri, chief executive of ADGM, said.

“Enabling digital financial services through Zand bank in both the retail and corporate space for these SMEs is a testament to our continued efforts to support their growth and expansion in the global financial hub.”

ADGM has been welcoming more companies amid the government's business-friendly policies, Mr Al Mheiri told The National in November.

In the first six months of last year, more than 1,000 companies set up operations within the centre.

There are more than 5,400 companies registered and licensed at the ADGM with the number set to grow, he said at the time.

The financial centre has also teamed up with six banks, including Zand Bank, to support its members.

This month, ADGM partnered with Emirates Development Bank, the state-owned lender focused on financing companies in key industrial sectors. In November, the financial hub signed agreements with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBank) and Wio Bank to launch programmes to support SMEs by using financial technology.

As per the agreement with Zand Bank, the two entities will develop a capacity-building programme through educational sessions across sectors and enable networking and training, the statement said.

Zand Bank will allocate a help desk to support ADGM employees and incorporated entities. The ADGM community will also be supported by “dedicated client managers during the client onboarding and engagement process”.

Meanwhile, ADGM will support Zand Bank in business development and the “penetration of the largest 100 ADGM-incorporated entities through investment banking services”.

The partnership will also seek to develop an ecosystem of FinTech partners.

“As the international financial centre in Abu Dhabi, ADGM houses a number of diverse businesses, all looking to grow and expand their footprint in the region,” said Michael Chan, chief executive at Zand Bank.

“We strive to financially empower these businesses in the ADGM community.”

Updated: February 20, 2023, 4:25 PM