The initiative, unveiled by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq), Chairperson of the Regional Business Council (RBC) and Chairperson of Sheraa, provides SMEs, startups and corporations with a real opportunity to play a significant role in transforming the current business ecosystem and leading the future. The initiative aims to harmonise the interests of key players in the region's supply chains, thus contributing to the growth of economic sectors by enabling them to meet the future needs of customers.
During the programme, the initiative announced the signing of 16 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on the sidelines between major companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The agreements included an MoU between Crescent Petroleum and Joi, two signed by Sharjah Media City (Shams) with Monda Gallery and JuxtaPiece, two signed by Crescent Enterprises with AlMentor and ProTenders, and two more signed by Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) with YallaPickup and ProTenders.
Three MoUs by the Sharjah Environment Company (Bee'ah) with Fenbits, AlMentor, and Charicycles, were signed in addition to two more between Sharjah Asset Management with JuxtaPiece and Rentsher. For its part, Shurooq signed the largest number of MoUs, amounting to 4 MoUs with Rentsher, AlMentor, Charicycles, and ProTenders. Also in attendance were Air Arabia and the Higher Committee of Digital Transformation Sharjah.
Through the ASCII, RBC members committed to allocate 10 per cent of their annual procurement budget to SMEs, startups, and entrepreneurs by 2020. This seeks to accelerate the level of engagement with the startup community, putting the UAE on the global map of future investment strategies.
"Since its launch last year, the ASCII has seen remarkable cooperation from large-scale corporates in the Arab world, reflecting their commitment to support startups and enable them to succeed,” stated Sheikha Bodour.
"As a facilitator of innovative ideas and entrepreneurship in the region, we know how important it is to have the private sector working closely with startups to build an idea-driven and innovation-leading society. This initiative proves not only that both sides are necessary to build this exciting and engaging ecosystem, but also that the symbiosis is mutually beneficial for all,” comments Najla Al Midfa, General Manager, Sheraa.