ADCED launched the Akoun Entrepreneurship Initiative in November 2009 with the aim of identifying and disseminating the concept and practice of business entrepreneurship among university students to develop an entrepreneurial culture that would inspire and enable Emirati youth to enter the private sector by establishing their own small and medium business projects.
Academic institutions welcomed the initiative and expressed their interest in cooperating with ADCED to promote the initiative among students and encourage them to enter the entrepreneurship world. Zayed University and INSEAD prepared case studies on leading Emirati entrepreneurs to be used as academic reference material and teaching material. In addition, Zayed University formed an entrepreneurs club and launched an academic training course on Emirati entrepreneurs.
The idea of the initiative centers on organizing specialized workshops in which a number of Emirati entrepreneurs share their expertise and experience with the participating students. An annual competition entitled "Best Business Idea" is organized as part of the initiative's activities. A panel of experts choose three best business ideas presented by students, and the winners are awarded cash prizes, which can be used to start a business. In addition, the winners get professional training and guidance from the Khalifa Fund. Thousands of university students from all over UAE participated in the Akoun workshops and competition.
ADCED launched the Dirhami Financial Awareness Initiative, the first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf region, in December 2010. The Initiative aims to raise financial awareness among members of the community in Abu Dhabi and to educate them on financial matters related to managing their funds and savings and making sound financial decisions when it comes to spending, savings, planning, borrowing, investment and debt management.
Within the framework of the annual activities of the Initiative, ADCED organized several workshops and educational seminars for employees of several government bodies and targeted segments of the community, including citizens and residents, such as students at specific educational stages, age groups, newlyweds and others.
In order to ensure the best results among the target audience, the Initiative developed a strategic plan to expand the scope of cooperation with related and specialized entities in the field of financial awareness. In this respect, ADCED signed a number of cooperation agreements with several government and private bodies such as Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Emirates Foundation for Youth Development and others.
The Dirhami Initiative has been widely recognized worldwide after its launch, an indication of ADCED's positive role in promoting financial awareness. In recognition of the significance and effectiveness of this Initiative, ADCED was admitted to the International Network for Financial Education (INFE) established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to become the first government body in the United Arab Emirates to join this network, which supports financial awareness and financial education around the world.
In the autumn of 2009, ADCED published the first issue of The Economic Review, a quarterly economic magazine aimed to highlight aspects of economic growth in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and to promote Abu Dhabi as a distinct global economic hub. The magazine focused in particular on initiatives that promote entrepreneurship by highlighting a number of leading entrepreneurs and their success stories. Articles and reports published in the magazine dealt with economic activities, development projects and other vital issues related to the local economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Considering the high values embraced and provided by The Economic Review in terms of production and quality of material, it was nominated to win the first prize in the category for the Best Public Sector Title as part of The International Customer Publishing Awards for 2011, which took place in the British capital, London. The criteria adopted for giving the awards were based on the magazine's creativity, innovation and effectiveness.
Twenty three issues of The Economic Review have been published since its launch in 2009 until it ceased publication at the end of 2013.
The Economic Dialogue Forum
The year 2013 witnessed the birth of a new economic initiative launched by ADCED, namely a quarterly forum called "The Economic Dialogue". The Initiative aimed at strengthening public-private partnership and creating an open platform for dialogue and exchange of views on various economic issues between experts and specialists in this field, with a focus on the emergence of new industries in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The idea of the Forum is to organize a seminar between representatives of the public and private sectors from a specific industry or activity to discuss and find solutions for challenges facing the private sector in that industry. During the meeting, specialists make presentations followed by a series of panel discussions. In view of outcome of discussions, a set of recommendations and suggestions are prepared.
ADCED then would prepare a comprehensive study based on the proceedings and recommendations of the forum to be presented to the decision makers in the Government of Abu Dhabi. The study includes a description of the issue, difficulties it represents for the private sector and a set of recommendations, best practices and suggestions on how to overcome these challenges.
In this regard, ADCED organized four forums of The Economic Dialogue initiative. The first forum was held in the second quarter of 2013 under the theme "Emergence of New Industries in Abu Dhabi: Enabling the Private Sector" in cooperation with the Harvard Business School graduates club in the Gulf region and the participation of more than 170 delegations from the public and private sectors.
In October 2013, the second forum was organized under the theme "Corporate Financing and Access to Finance" in cooperation and coordination with economists from the World Bank. The discussion sessions highlighted the challenges and constraints faced by private sector companies and small and medium enterprises in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in obtaining financing. The discussions centered on how to create an enabling environment that allows them to obtain financing to contribute effectively to the growth and sustainability of the local economy.
"Tourism Sector in Abu Dhabi: Overcoming Challenges and Building Synergies” was the theme of the third forum organized in November 2015 under the Economic Dialogue initiative activities. This forum was organized in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, and Abu Dhabi Municipality representing the public sector together with leading representatives from the private tourism sector.
In September 2016, the Council organized the Third Economic Forum under the title "Linkages Between Industries" with the participation of more than 200 people representing the largest industrial companies and representatives of small and medium enterprises related to the industrial sector. The objective of the forum was to create an integrated industrial base through interconnecting the main manufacturing industries in the Emirate with small and medium industries and free zones to benefit from their manufacturing capabilities in providing all or some of the needs of the main industries.
The forum, which was considered one of the most successful economic gatherings, was organized in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones and the Khalifa Industrial City (KIZAD), as well as 15 government-owned industrial companies. A large number of small and medium enterprises representing the private sector also attended the forum.
© 2018 Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development
Under the Umbrella of Department of Economic Development