Khalifa Fund Presents its Plans for Supporting Youth Enterprises
Khalifa Fund Presents its Plans for Supporting Youth Enterprises
ADU’s cultural season for the year 2009 began yesterday at the campus auditorium. The season will include general and specialized seminars that will focus on regional and global issues which are of concern to the community.
ADU inaugurated its cultural season with a seminar on the Khalifa Fund in order to support and develop small and medium enterprises. The spokesman for the event was Dr. Ahmed Khalil Al-Mutawa, the Executive Director of the Khalifa Fund, which provides support and developmental assistance to small and medium enterprises. He spoke about ways in which to launch small and medium enterprises. In attendance was H.E. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, the ADU Chairman of the Executive Board, Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, ADU Chancellor, a number of academic and administrative leaders from the university and more than 450 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Dr. Al-Mutawa remarked on the significance of the national role that the Khalifa Fund plays in supporting the national economy by helping the young generation to start small business enterprises.
Dr. Al-Mutawa listed the achievements of Khalifa Fund, mentioning that the Fund already approved funding for 176 projects at a loan value of AED 292 million, of which 27% are owned by women. Al-Mutawa added that 56% of the funded projects were in the industrial sector, 41% in the services sector, and 3% in agriculture.
Dr. Al-Mutawa noted that the creation of the Khalifa Fund is a key strategic move to support this aim by enhancing the potential of national entrepreneurs. The aims and objectives of the Khalifa Fund are to ensure that national entrepreneurs are given every opportunity to start their own businesses and contribute towards the economy.
Dr. Al-Mutawa added that in order to achieve its goals, the Khalifa Fund works according to three strategies namely Loan Financing, which includes loan facilities (equipment, working capital) with credit assessment by financial institutions, Risk Sharing arrangements with financial institutions, and the monitoring of accounts by financial institutions, and Venture Capital which focuses on the ideas that are aligned with the market needs and enhancing business capabilities through business assistance, advice and recommendation, business facilitation, and business matching.
Al-Mutawa also spoke about the difficulties which young entrepreneurs face whilst thinking of starting up small enterprises and commented on confidence and courage such projects require. Al-Mutawa added that most entrepreneurs often assimilate launching their own business enterprises with joining a position in well paid governmental jobs due to their fears of losing certain social security benefits if they solely choose an entrepreneurial career or self employment due to the poor role most banks play in the country when it comes to financing such projects. Entrepreneurs also fear failure and personal debts in case of business failure where statistics show that 1 out of 3 of start ups do not survive after 2 years.
Dr. Al-Mutawa presented the measures which the Khalifa Fund takes in supporting young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. These measures include advisory services and training programs which are provided to ensure increased chances of success for entrepreneurs. Al-Mutawa added that the training programs include Khutwa and Intillaqa. The Fund also offers entrepreneurs access to finance through three programs: Khutwa, Bedaya, and Zeyada.
The Khutwa program represents the first step and targets female oriented businesses. The program has financed 56% of such female businesses ventures with a capital of up to 250,000 dirhams. The Khalifa Fun approved the funding of 32 projects under this program.
The Bedaya program finances business start-ups with a capital of up to 3 million dirhams. The program targets new entrants / potential entrepreneurs in business. The Khalifa Fund approved the funding of 128 such projects through this program where 80% were owned by males and 20% by females. 52% of the approved projects were in the service sector, 47% in industry, and 1% in agriculture.
The Zeyada program finances existing businesses and early stage small business enterprises with a capital of up to 5 million dirhams. The Fund had approved 16 such projects under this program and 19% of them are owned by women.
Dr. Al-Mutawa noted that small businesses can adopt better to financial crises and that such financial crises do not have to necessary carry a negative impact on these projects, adding that the Fund takes care of all entrepreneurs in terms of advising and the logistic and constructive support, and will not allow those that are not qualified to run their own businesses.
Dr. Al-Mutawa indicated that the Khalifa Fund received approximately 3000 applications in the year and a half since its foundation, and that the Fund trained 720 entrepreneurs, 27% of the candidates being female. Dr. Al-Mutawa added that the fund launched representative branch offices in Al Ain and Western Region to extend this opportunity to all local graduates in order to get the help they need with managing their own small enterprises.
At the end of the seminar, a discussion was held between Dr. Al-Mutawa and the students where one of the students raised a question about whether the Khalifa Fund is willing to finance a new academic program at ADU in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. Dr. Al-Mutawa answered by saying that he always welcomes new projects and initiatives from the youth and realizes the importance of education in achieving career success in the future. However, the Khalifa Fund is not responsible for the funding of such projects since it specializes in the funding of small business enterprises by local entrepreneurs.
Another student asked what impact which the current financial crisis has on small enterprises and Dr. Al-Mutawa noted that small enterprises adjust quickly to financial changes and there is an incorrect common belief that the financial crisis carries a negative impact on everything. However, the truth is that the crisis grants new opportunities of success to many people and the Khalifa Fund assesses all the ideas from entrepreneurs, and if the project carries an uncertain future, the Fund will not allow the entrepreneur to launch it.
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