01-Sep 2017
Sandooq Al Watan Joins Khalifa Innovation Center as Founding Member, Establishes Investment ‘Oasis’
The Fund has announced that it will be establishing the ‘Sandooq Al Watan Oasis’ to field social investment opportunities. Abu Dhabi, Sep**, 2017 – Sandooq Al Watan, a national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen to support research projects for the post-oil era, has officially joined the Khalifa Innovation Center as a founding member.

For its contribution, the Fund has pledged to establish the “Sandooq Al Watan Oasis” by 2018 to field social investment opportunities that are set to yield positive effects on society as a whole. The Oasis will cover a total area of approximately 12,000 square feet, setting out to develop innovation centres all around the country.

“The Khalifa Innovation Center is a commendable example of an effective partnership that seeks to boost the national economy with innovative projects that give back to the community,” said Sandooq Al Watan’s Board of Directors. “We are delighted to be among the founding members, seeing as the Center’s work in embracing innovative ideas and turning them into projects resonates perfectly with our long-term strategic objectives. We strive to develop national talent and help them turn their ideas into successful UAE-based, globally competitive companies.”

“Together with our strategic partners,” the Board continued, “we will work through the Khalifa Innovation Center and our Sandooq Al Watan Oasis to create a platform that brings together leading academic and financial institutions, as well as major private companies, offering a supportive environment for innovation and innovators to build the future economy and help achieve our leadership’s ambitious vision for sustainable development and enhanced global competitiveness.”

The Khalifa Innovation Center is a joint strategic initiative bringing together the Khalifa Fund and Khalifa University, as well as Tawazun Group and Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Company.

His Excellency Hussain Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, welcomed Sandooq Al Watan as a founding member of the Khalifa Innovation Center, applauding the Fund’s plan to establish the Sandooq Al Watan Oasis. “Sandooq Al Watan Oasis will further strengthen the Khalifa Innovation Center to create an ideal environment that encourages innovation and enables young people to develop their talents,” Al Nowais said, “which, in turn, will catalyse innovative projects capable of supporting and promoting the knowledge economy in the UAE.”

“We are honoured to have Sandooq Al Watan join our list of strategic partners,” said Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University. “Operating out of headquarters in Khalifa University, the Khalifa Innovation Center has come to command attention from entities across both the private and public sectors, as it offers support for technological research and projects affecting strategic sectors.” “Khalifa University and its strategic partners constantly offer support to innovators,” Dr Al Hammadi added, “in order to achieve our shared objectives, such as empowering the youth and upgrading the economy of the UAE. We greatly value the participation of Sandooq Al Watan and look forward to further achievements at the local, regional and global levels, in order to increase the UAE’s global competitiveness.”

Tareq Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, CEO of Tawazun Economic Council’s Board of Directors, also welcomed the Fund among the Khalifa Innovation Center’s founding members, noting that the Sandooq Al Watan Oasis initiative will help support innovative ideas and creative entrepreneurs, providing them with financial and technical support to implement their projects and benefit society and the national economy.

“With Sandooq Al Watan joining, the Center can confidently move forward with its objectives to promote innovation and develop national talent. This, in turn, strengthens the knowledge economy in the UAE and achieves sustainable development,” Al Hosani explained, noting that the Khalifa Innovation Center’s objectives align perfectly with Tawazun’s goals to build a sound industrial infrastructure in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Establishing an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
The Khalifa Innovation Center, launched in November 2015 as a joint venture between the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Khalifa University, Tawazun Group and Mubadala Aviation Company, seeks to establish an integrated innovation support system. To that end, the Center works, first and foremost, to create an innovation- and technology-focused business incubator that launches projects across strategic sectors that drive development, including information technology, aeronautics, transport, environment and renewable energy, as well as safety, health sciences and robotics.

A Stimulating Environment
Sandooq Al Watan Oasis will offer a variety of services to stimulate innovation and create an enabling environment for emerging businesses to expand and grow locally and globally. The initiative will provide dedicated office spaces, laboratories and infrastructure that allow entrepreneurs to produce prototype projects. The Oasis will also provide a full range of services, including entrepreneurial training programmes conducted by top local and international experts, financiers and entrepreneurs.

Sandooq Al Watan Oasis is a cornerstone of the “Our future” initiative which seeks to launch UAE-based global companies to rival such international giants as Google and Tesla. The initiative calls for embracing cutting-edge technologies and using them to build a robust and sustainable economy.

The Khalifa Innovation Center offers a platform that facilitates access to funding sources, where the varying grants correspond to three consecutive stages of start-up development: the pre-launch stage, where the Center offers a monetary grant of up to AED300,000; the development stage, where entrepreneurs receive a grant not exceeding one million dirhams; and, finally, the growth stage, in which the Center contributes up to AED3 million towards the project’s capital.

Integrated Business Model
The Khalifa Innovation Center implements a pioneering business model that supports innovators and reinforces start-up culture in the UAE. The Center offers training programmes to help entrepreneurs hone their skills, support innovative ideas and facilitate access to financing and investments.