Khalifa Fund signs agreement with Etisalat and Microsoft to support Abu Dhabi SMEs

Entrepreneurs registered with the fund’s e-Empower programme will receive preferential rates, digital support and exclusive trade licences

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 2, 2020.   The Corniche skyline on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Victor Besa/The National
Section:  NA
For:  Standalone/Stock/Weather

Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, an Abu Dhabi government agency, has teamed up with Etisalat and Microsoft to help the emirate's small and medium-sized enterprises in their digital transformation.

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

Etisalat and Microsoft will jointly host a digital academy that provides informative videos, webinars and talk shows to help entrepreneurs improve their digital capacity and online business models, the statement said.

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Khalifa Fund continues to remain dedicated towards optimally equipping Abu Dhabi SMEs with the required knowledge, insights and resources to digitally transform

“Khalifa Fund continues to remain dedicated towards optimally equipping Abu Dhabi SMEs with the required knowledge, insights and resources to digitally transform and becoming highly efficient e-commerce enterprises,” Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of the fund and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said.

“The new strategic partnership between Khalifa Fund, Etisalat and Microsoft is another cohesive effort between industry leaders to further enhance Abu Dhabi’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The Khalifa Fund teamed up with Amazon in September last year to support SMEs in Abu Dhabi.

A report from Abu Dhabi Chamber estimated that SMEs account for 98 per cent of all companies in the emirate, making them a key pillar of its economy. The UAE capital has announced various measures to support and develop SMEs, including economic relief packages during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government has sought to attract more high-tech start-ups and businesses to Abu Dhabi as part of its focus on artificial intelligence, agriculture technology, food security and industrialisation.

Khalifa Fund’s e-Empower initiative currently has 1,200 applicants who have their online marketplaces featured across Amazon, noon.ae and Askhaak, the statement said.

Abu Dhabi SMEs who register with e-Empower will receive exclusive trade licences and preferential rates with Etisalat and Microsoft, Mr Al Shorafa said.

The UAE telecom company will offer SMEs registered on e-Empower access to its ‘Hello Business Hub’ platform.

“SMEs are key to innovation and job creation and are undoubtedly the engine of growth of the country’s economy,” Hatem Dowidar, chief executive of Etisalat Group, said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will host digital webinars, including bi-weekly awareness services, advisory sessions and online training, as well as preferential rates for Microsoft 365 software and digital support for sellers, the fund said.

“Initiatives like this, driven jointly by the public and private sector and focused on education and infrastructure, are meeting a real need in the entrepreneurial and SME community,” Sayed Hashish, general manager of Microsoft UAE, said.

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