SHARJAH: The Sharjah Foundation for Supporting Entrepreneurship (Ruwad), which is affiliated with the Sharjah Economic Development Department, has announced a significant increase in the funding allocated to pilot projects for the current year. The value of the funding has been raised by more than 100 percent, from AED 2.5 million in 2022 to AED 6 million, in order to enable entrepreneurs to take advantage of available opportunities and expand their projects in various fields.

This decision aligns with Ruwad's objectives of supporting the citizens of the emirate to enhance their contribution to the national economy. The increase was approved during a meeting of the Foundation's Project Finance Committee, which was attended by Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Sharjah Economic Development Department, Hamad Ali Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Director of Ruwad and Chairman of the Project Finance Committee, and other members of the committee.

Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi commended the committee's efforts during 2022 and its role in developing financing mechanisms for small and medium enterprises. He also directed the need for follow-up on faltering projects and conducting standard comparisons with support funds to determine the best practices in this regard. The aim is to help the owners of these projects achieve success and contribute to the economic and cultural renaissance of the emirate of Sharjah and the UAE as a whole.

Hamad Al Mahmoud reported that last year, eight commercial projects were financed by the Foundation's direct financing programme with a total value of AED 2,017,000. The projects included various activities such as sports services, fitness clubs, boat rental, technical and vocational training, industry bags, and beauty centers. These reflect the diversity of orientations among entrepreneurs, their ability to keep up with market needs, and their commitment to serving society in all fields.

During the meeting, Al Mahmoud commended the Project Finance Committee for their efforts and recommendations which have helped to develop work mechanisms and strengthen the committee's role in supporting small and medium enterprise owners. He expressed his commitment to continuing these efforts in the current year and expanding financing opportunities for businesses.

One of the ongoing efforts discussed was the development of tight mechanisms for financing projects through the direct financing programme in collaboration with the Sharjah Islamic Bank. Al Mahmoud presented proposals for implementing activities and allocating a prize for the best project idea among university students. He also suggested designing a financing programme specifically for this category and launching new digital communication platforms, including a podcast channel for the Foundation where successful entrepreneurs can be interviewed and the Foundation's services and initiatives can be presented.

In addition to these initiatives, the meeting also reviewed new funding requests and assessed their economic feasibility. The committee recognised the importance of evaluating project ideas and their economic viability to ensure their sustainability and success. Overall, the meeting emphasised the Foundation's commitment to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises through various financing programmes and initiatives.