Kuwait National Fund, GE Power Sign MoU to Develop Digital Industrial Ecosystem for SMEs
Kuwait’s National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (The National Fund) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GE Power (NYSE: GE) to incubate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to build digital industrial applications for the power generation sector and to strengthen their economic growth and competitiveness.
The initiative ties in with the National Fund’s vision to build an inclusive, collaborative and innovative ecosystem for entrepreneurs to lay the foundation for economic opportunities in Kuwait.
In the presence of H.E. Khaled Al-Roudhan, Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce & Industry and Minister of State for Youth Affairs; H.E Lawrence R. Silverman, US Ambassador to Kuwait; Scott L. Strazik. President & CEO of GE’s Power Services business; Joseph Anis, President & CEO of GE’s Power Services business in the Middle East, Africa and India; board members of The National Fund; and high-ranking officials of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), the MOU was signed in Kuwait City by Mr. Abdullah Hamad Al-Jouan, Chairman of the Board & President of the National Fund for Small & Medium Enterprise Development, and Bhanu Shekhar, Chief Digital Officer of GE Power in the Middle East and Africa.
H.E. Khaled Al-Roudhan said, “This agreement is in line with the Ministry’s strategy to support young entrepreneurs and create an ideal business environment for them to achieve the desired success for their enterprises. The continuous collaboration between the various departments within the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has paved the way towards reaching this agreement, which is in turn the result of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority’s support and concentrated efforts to attract international investors, such as GE, and facilitate new initiatives to empower young entrepreneurs and give them access to the innovative services and technologies available within the GE Kuwait Technology Center.”
As per the MOU, The National Fund and GE Power will identify, train and help entrepreneurs to grow SMEs that will develop digital applications for the industrial sector based on the Predix platform, GE’s application development platform for the Industrial Internet, which was built to meet the scale, complexity, speed and security requirements of industry. Digitization can unlock tremendous benefits for industry. A report issued by the World Economic Forum in 2016 stated that $1.3 trillion of value can be realized purely by deploying and adopting digital technologies over the next ten years in the electricity sector alone.
Mr. Abdullah Hamad Al-Jouan said, “Digital technologies are a game changer that support businesses to scale up, enhance operational efficiency and achieve higher levels of productivity. Building the digital skills of Kuwaiti entrepreneurs on GE’s Predix platform is a significant means to help realize their true potential. This collaboration will enable and inspire them to integrate digital tools as well as innovate new, more efficient and highly productive ways to boost growth. GE’s global experience in leading the digital transformation of industry, together with its local presence and knowledge, make them an excellent organization to collaborate with on this initiative.”
GE’s Joseph Anis said, “Today’s MOU is aligned with the goals of the Kuwait National Development Plan to create new job opportunities, support the SME ecosystem, and contribute to the diversification and competitiveness of the economy. The National Fund is setting an example as a world-class institution that is mapping out a vision for the future of the region – one where the public and private sectors come together to drive the digital transformation of the economy and reap the many benefits it offers. We are honored to support this journey.”
The Predix platform is already widely implemented across the Middle East and Africa, including at large utilities. Through the MOU, Kuwaiti SMEs will have the opportunity to participate in the ongoing digital transformation of the power sector, helping to enhance the industry’s efficiency and reliability, while lowering its carbon footprint. Additionally, as the region turns towards a rising share of intermittent renewable energy in the overall generation mix, Predix-based Industrial Internet of Things applications can help enhance grid stability by improving the flexibility of the power generation sector so operators can ramp up or down power supplies more quickly.
GE Power will train entrepreneurs on developing applications on the Predix platform, supply the infrastructure to support application development and provide access to trainers for the Predix platform. Training and development activities will take place at the GE Kuwait Technology Center, a flagship facility that serves three core areas for energy sector customers across the Middle East and Africa: training, tooling and engineering.
The MOU builds on GE’s strong legacy of contributions towards the development of Kuwait’s industrial infrastructure. GE technologies deliver over a third of Kuwait’s power today and the company creates employment for more than 250 people in the country.
Kuwait National Fund
In April 2013, the Government has enacted law number 98 of 2013 to establish a National Fund for SME Development (the “SME Fund”). The law is intended to help the country make a major stride in the efforts to support the youth, combat unemployment, and enable the private sector to drive economic growth. As an independent public corporation, with a total capital of KD 2 billion, the SME Fund will finance up to 80 percent of capital for feasible small and medium projects submitted by Kuwaiti nationals. The law defines eligible SMEs as enterprises that employ 1 to 50 Kuwaiti workers, with financing requirements that do not exceed KD 500 thousands.
GE provides knowledge, capacity building and training to empower the region’s workforce. Thirty percent of the Middle East and North Africa’s population is between the ages of 15 and 29. In the UAE, we’re partnering with the Mubadala Development Company to build local capacity by empowering local talent through trainings at our Leadership Acceleration for Business (LAB) initiative.
With 76 nationalities working in the region, GE proudly fosters diversity in the workforce. To accelerate the advancement of women, the Women’s Network, an affinity network at GE, creates opportunities for female employees to cultivate their leadership and business skills. GE is not just watching as the region realizes its future; we’re partnering to help build it.