Innovation & Entrepreneurship

“With innovation we can build states and institutions; the future belongs to those with new ideas.”
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

In all its projects and programmes, MBRGI seeks to build the future by motivating individuals, institutions and communities, and supporting and rewarding efforts to conceive creative and innovative solutions to the many challenges facing the Arab world and the world as a whole.

A total of AED 377 million was invested in 2016 in initiatives, programmes, awards and projects dedicated to innovation, development, entrepreneurship and shaping the future. Projects and programmes with this goal at their core were undertaken by Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development and include awards such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award, UAE Drones for Good Award, UAE AI & Robotics for Good Award and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award.

Work on the Museum of the Future continued in 2016 towards its goal of becoming a centre for innovation and the testing of pioneering ideas. Efforts were also sustained in creating innovation incubators through the Museum of the Future (Future Endowment Fund), with an investment of AED 1 billion.

  • Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award
  • Young Entrepreneurs Award
  • Museum of the Future
  • UAE Drones for Good Award
  • UAE AI & Robotics for Good Award
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award
innovation AED 377 Million

spent on initiatives for innovation and entrepreneurship

A Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiatives

innovation AED 377 MILLION

spent on innovation and entrepreneurship in 2016

Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development


invested since inception

entrepreneurs 23,000 EMIRATI

entrepreneurs supported

smes launched 4,152 SMES


Investing in innovation, looking toward the future and supporting projects that promote entrepreneurship are key components of MBRGI's initiatives. The total expenditure on innovative initiatives and entrepreneurship is AED 377 million.

MBRGI's activities focus on developing entrepreneurship among young citizens in government and in business. Its initiatives nurture entrepreneurs and innovation through incubators, research, innovation, awards and other support.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME) works to create a business-friendly environment for Dubai’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Since its launch in 2002, Dubai SME has stimulated growth and development in the sector by supporting 23,000 Emirati entrepreneurs, investing AED 282 million, and helping to launch 4,152 companies.

Its activities include establishing business incubators, identifying impediments to growth, raising awareness of entrepreneurship as an alternative to employment and entering agreements with banks and other financial institutions to ensure the provision of suitable financing options for SMEs, as well as coordination with external suppliers to provide support and advisory services to members.

MBRGI's range of awards are aimed at distinct sections and levels within the industry, such as the Young Entrepreneurs Award, which encourages competition among the youth in the region.

Businesses which have demonstrated their ability to contribute to the economic progress of the UAE are recognised by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award, which shows appreciation for local businesses and encourages them to achieve further success.

Innovating For A New World

The Museum of the Future is set to become Dubai’s epicentre of innovation, and will contain laboratories specialising in research and development in the fields of health, education, smart cities, energy and transportation.

Announced in 2015, the museum will be located alongside the Emirates Towers and is scheduled to open in 2018 as the world’s best environment to promote innovation and test ground breaking ideas and inventions. As well as attracting the world’s technology giants, it will also provide facilities for start-ups and design studios for universities, companies and research partners.

The building will be constructed in part using 3D printing technologies, in support of Dubai’s 3D printing strategy, which aims for 25% of buildings in Dubai to be based on 3D printing technology by 2030. The emirate aims to lead the world in developing this disruptive technology, with an international hub focusing on its applications in the construction, medical and consumer products sectors.

The Museum of the Future is an element of the Dubai Future Foundation, which also supports innovation through its Dubai Future Accelerators programme, bringing together tech pioneers with government entities in Dubai to accelerate the development of smart government. It focuses on challenges including telemedicine, biometric identification, water and energy usage, education, transport, and public health and safety.

By 2016, Dubai Future Accelerators had built partnerships with 33 companies and institutions from nine countries across the world.

“Persistence and vision that looks to the future are essential to anyone looking for excellence and success.”
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Technology for Human Service

The UAE’s pioneering approach to adopting new technology for human service was demonstrated by its UAE Drones for Good Award and UAE AI & Robotics for Good Award, which rewarded groups who developed solutions to the world’s challenges using drones, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). More than 1,000 entries were submitted from 165 countries, covering numerous fields, from conservation to humanitarian relief, education to detecting nuclear radiation and many more areas where drones could advance progress.

Combining UAE Water Aid’s (Suqia’s) humanitarian mission to provide access to clean water, with the UAE’s strategy to find innovative solutions to address water scarcity, the foundation holds the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award.

UAE Water Aid (Suqia) encourages leading corporations, research centres, institutions and innovators from across the world to develop sustainable and innovative renewable-energy solutions, with young people making up the majority of entrants.

In 2016, UAE Water Aid (Suqia) selected 10 finalists from 138 – mainly young – applicants, which included 26 entries from the UAE, and 29 from the Arab region, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.


Thanks to fast-paced advances in 3D printing, a young Emirati girl, called Sara Abdullah Mohamed Abdulraheem, has been able to grasp new opportunities. Born with limb abnormalities, the 10 year-old was reliant on a wheelchair and had limited use of her hands due to missing fingers.

One of the hundreds of schoolchildren attending Al Jalila Foundation’s Destination Medicine Summit, Sara benefitted from more than career advice when she visited a 3D printing workshop, run in partnership with Enable Tamkeen Community Foundation.
The team evaluated one of her hands and delivered a 3D printed hand to Sara in time for her birthday. This innovative prosthetic has not only increased Sara’s confidence, but enabled her to carry out tasks she was previously unable to perform.