SME hub
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Abu Dhabi Entrepreneurship Initiative (SME Hub) Launched to Support Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups

Abu Dhabi Global Market Academy (ADGMA), the academic and knowledge arm of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial centre of UAE’s capital emirate, has announced the launch of the Abu Dhabi Entrepreneurship Initiative. This is in line with its commitment and ongoing contribution to the national vision to transition to a knowledge-based economy.

ADGMA marked the launch of this initiative by signing agreements with a variety of partners. The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), Avnon Academy, startAD and the Human Resource Authority (HRA) all partnered with ADGMA. The new program, under the banner ‘SME Hub’, is developed to enable the creation of entrepreneurs and start-ups in a supportive ecosystem.

The SME Hub’s mission is to create a robust and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem for national and expatriate entrepreneurs. It will provide an interactive platform that will embed them in an innovation-driven, growing and thriving community.

Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, COO of ADGM and managing director of ADGM Academy
Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, COO of ADGM and managing director of ADGM Academy

Through this initiative, participants would have access to tailor-made training and start-up accelerator programmes, which support the development of the tech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi. The initiative also offers a series of thought leadership events, seminars and webinars. Additionally, it offers networking and mentorship events that reflect the uniqueness of this partnership. These position ADGMA as a major contributor towards building Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy.

Combining talents

Commenting on this initiative, Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, COO of ADGM and managing director of ADGM Academy said:

“Collaborating with our key partners is thrilling. We look forward to promoting, developing and enhancing financial literacy in UAE’s capital emirate and the nation as a whole. Our belief, is that this collaboration will add further value to ADGM Academy in its continuous endeavour to empower and prepare a highly competent workforce and positively contribute towards the developing UAE’s knowledge-based economy.”

Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO, Khalifa Fund
Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO, Khalifa Fund

H.E. Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO, Khalifa Fund said:

“It’s my utmost pleasure to sign this declaration for the ‘Abu Dhabi Entrepreneur Initiative’. Especially alongside our partners, ADGM Academy, AVNON Academy, the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, the Human Resources Authority, and StartAD. Khalifa Fund is continuously identifying new and innovative ways in which we can pursue collaborative efforts alongside industry leaders and other enterprise development experts. I look forward to combining our talents, insights and expertise to develop a cohesive task force which will contribute to the further enhancement of the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Tomer Avnon, founder and president of the Avnon Group
Tomer Avnon, founder and president of the Avnon Group

Tomer Avnon, founder and president of the Avnon Group, said:

“The Avnon Academy is designed to democratise education about cybersecurity and artificial intelligence while fostering a wider understanding of relevant industries. Consequently, by delivering world-class financial education and literacy, this collaboration with The Avnon Academy will enable Abu Dhabi to position itself as a leading centre of innovation studies.”

Developing ideas in the UAE

Ramesh Jagannathan, managing director of startAD, the accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, said:

Ramesh Jagannathan, managing director of startAD
Ramesh Jagannathan, managing director of startAD

“The UAE is fertile ground for companies large or small to develop and scale new ideas. As a result, we are really excited about the opportunity it provides to use Abu Dhabi as a base to serve a vast and diverse market.

“The MENA region is home to the world’s largest youth population. There is 200 million youth who are ideal participants in the wave of technological change. The real prize, however, is a global consumer class which experts predict will reach 5.2 billion people by 2030. Over three billion of them will be in India, China, and Africa.

“Given the MENA is part of this ‘ICA Corridor’, there is an opportunity to ride the wave of India and China’s growing global tech ecosystem. By dominating the global entrepreneurial economic landscape, this can be achieved. The key part about this vast market is that it is hugely diverse. It has its own product needs, regulatory frameworks, and cultural mores.

“Furthermore, as a nation-building accelerator, startAD is proud to catalyse meaningful connections between visionary stakeholders. ADGM Academy is a prime example looking to build a future-focused, technology-driven economy. The partnership will create a virtuous circle. Start-ups can develop their products more rapidly, and corporates will have access to regionally relevant ideas and talent.

“Buoyed by favourable regulations and the ease of doing business, backed by the support of corporates who also wish to innovate and transform their sectors, this is a historic opportunity to serve a frontier market the size of Europe and North America.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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