Abu Dhabi: More than 50 per cent of Khalifa Fund loans have gone to industrial projects and 30 per cent to female entrepreneurs, Fund Chairman Hussain Al Nowais said at an awards ceremony on Wednesday night.
Established in 2007, the fund's paid-up capital has grown from Dh300 million to Dh1 billion. It has provided more than Dh320 million to about 200 existing and start-up businesses.
In addition to awarding outstanding entrepreneurs, the ceremony also saw the announcement of the launch of a Dh100 million sub-fund targeting projects that contribute to the emirate's economic diversification plan.
"The first three years for any small business are the hardest," Al Nowais said. "That is why our support extends to providing training programmes to teach people essential management skills."
Depending on the type of loan granted to a business, repayment is set at five or more years. Loans do not accrue interest and fund administrators provide a variety of support services including marketing and clearance for required government paperwork.
Saeed Abdullah Al Muhairi, general manager of Abu Dhabi Pallet Industry said the Dh3 million loan approved for his business helped in building the company's new warehouse and production facility.
The new facility will help boost his enterprise's production capacity to 2,000 pallets per eight-hour shift from its current level of 700.
Instead of taking out a bank loan at an 11 per cent annual interest rate, Al Muhairi will be held liable only for a 1 per cent processing fee and will enjoy a flexible payment schedule that can be adjusted according to his business's profitability.
Another new business owner, Abdullah Al Daheri, said his Juice Palace would have had to wait for years to open branches beyond the first in Al Ain had he resorted to a small business loan from a local bank.
But with a Dh250,000 Khalifa Fund loan, he is on his way to opening two more branches in Al Ain this year and is also eyeing an Abu Dhabi location.