EDB signs deal with Sharjah free zones to provide funding to SMEs

EDB will offer flexible financing plans, including financing for capex and facility upgrades for companies in Hamriyah Free Zone and the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone

EDB's recent agreement with the free zones is expected to increase the bank’s pipeline of projects. Photo: EDB
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Emirates Development Bank has signed a preliminary agreement with the Hamriyah Free Zone and the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone to help small and medium enterprises and start-ups grow by providing them with financial support.

Under the agreement, EDB will offer flexible financial solutions. These include capital expenditure financing for expansion or facility upgrades, greenfield and brownfield project finance, and financial support for the integration of Fourth Industrial Revolution technology or clean energy transition, the bank said on Wednesday.

“Our goal is to facilitate their access to our range of financial services, enabling them to develop and expand their businesses, develop new economic sectors — especially those based on advanced technologies — and support sustainable economic development,” said EDB chief executive Ahmed Al Naqbi.

EDB was founded in 2011 through a merger between the Emirates Industrial Bank and Real Estate Bank. It aims to provide Dh30 billion ($8.16bn) in financing over the next five years to support the UAE's efforts to more than double the size of its industrial sector by 2031.

It will fund industries such as health care, infrastructure, food security and technology, and help to generate 25,000 jobs.

EDB's recent agreement with the free zones will increase the bank’s pipeline of projects.

It will help them to identify promising companies that will benefit from financial support, such as capex investment and credit guarantees, or non-financial services such as business advisory services, coaching, consulting, mentoring and market research.

Both parties have also discussed the possibility of arranging webinars and roadshows to familiarise companies operating in the free zones with the financing products offered by EDB.

“EDB’s objective is to maximise its economic impact on the economy of the UAE,” Mr Al Naqbi said.

“Our financial solutions are offered with high loan-to-value ratios with competitive rates, long tenors and grace periods, especially for companies that rate highly on our Development Impact Scorecard — which we developed to support projects that have a significant impact on the national economy.”

Updated: June 02, 2022, 6:22 AM