Khalifa Fund connects Emirati entrepreneurs to manufacturers in production push

Four F&B products developed by UAE nationals are set to be manufactured by local companies

Mouza Al Nasri, acting chief executive of Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, at the closing ceremony of F&B Innovation Lab event on Tuesday. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development selected four products, developed by Emirati entrepreneurs as part of its F&B Innovation Lab initiative, to be manufactured locally as part of the UAE's efforts to build domestic production and increase self-sufficiency.

The F&B Innovation Lab was launched last year in partnership with UAE Food and Beverage Manufacturers Group and aims to encourage entrepreneurs to develop products to cater to the needs of the local food and beverage industry.

The products selected include a reusable packaging box, lactose-free labneh, as well as a vending machine for ready-to-eat pastas and special flavour potato chips, the fund said.

Companies including Emirates Macaroni Factory, Hunter Foods, and Al Ain Farms are ready to manufacture these products and take them to the market, the Khalifa Fund said.

“The F&B Innovation Lab was the first-of-its kind initiative for the F&B sector in the UAE, and it’s undoubtedly proved to be a successful platform for developing Emirati talent in the sector,” Rashed Al Blooshi, vice chairman of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, said.

“We look forward to potentially seeing these innovative concepts hit the market and help shape the future of the UAE’s F&B sector.”

The Khalifa Fund, which backs small and medium-size enterprises through loans and other programmes, launched a number of initiatives to support them.

This year, it teamed up with Etisalat and Microsoft to help the emirate's SMEs in their digital transformation.

As part of an online education programme called e-Empower, Etisalat and Microsoft will stage webinars and workshops, and offer preferential rates and digital support to SMEs in Abu Dhabi, the fund said in April.

Last year, it partnered with e-commerce company Amazon on a programme that backs small and medium-sized enterprises in the emirate.

"[There are] four new UAE-made products and there is a fifth in the pipeline. This has come as part of Khalifa Fund’s continuing commitment to support the economy and its diversification," Mouza Al Nasri, acting chief executive of the Khalifa Fund, said.

Updated: October 27, 2021, 5:50 AM