Abu Dhabi: The Authority for Social Contributions (Ma’an) has launched on Thursday the Accreditation for Social Enterprises, a first-of-its-kind scheme in the UAE that provides socially-driven organisations with branding recognition stamp to signify their status as a socially certified enterprise.
The initiative is in line with Abu Dhabi’s third sector development strategy of the Department of Community Development — Abu Dhabi and its social enterprises’ classification framework,
A number of social enterprises and businesses that fulfilled the accreditation criteria during the pilot phase from March to July 2022 were awarded with the social certificate at the official launch ceremony.
Ma’an received applications from 45 enterprises to be socially certified. Of this, 27 entities have successfully received their certificates, while 13 entities are currently reviewing and updating their applications.
The enterprises serve multiple social priorities, including health, education, social inclusion, environment, and family cohesion. They also serve community groups such as people of determination, youth, students, senior citizens and the overall community of Abu Dhabi.
The announcement was made at a special ceremony hosted by Ma’an on Thursday at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi. The event drew the participation of Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, chairman of the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi, Sheikha Shamma bint Khalifa bin Hamdan Al Nahyan of the Al Mubarakah Foundation, Salama Al Ameemi, director general of Ma’an, and several senior officials from relevant social organisations in Abu Dhabi.
Ma’an is an innovative tool to enable socially-driven enterprises and businesses to grow sustainably in a highly competitive market, the scheme provides certified entities with a range of direct and indirect benefits and incentives. It is aimed at driving social entrepreneurship and creating a multiplier effect of social value that supports the development of innovative solutions and initiatives.
Al Ameemi said: “In launching this scheme, we aim to highlight the important role of socially driven organisations in offering a variety of products and services that fulfil the communities needs and achieve the government’s social priorities.”
“As the UAE’S first government accreditation body for social enterprises, Ma’an appreciates the confidence reposed on us by the government and is aware of the great responsibility that we have in serving our country and society. We will continue to function as an important link between government, private and third sectors to create a positive and sustainable social impact, while promoting collaboration and integration among various segments of society in Abu Dhabi,” she added.
For his part, Faisal Alhmoudi, Executive Director of Incubation and Social Contracting at Ma’an, said: “The scheme significantly contributes to creating a social procurement mindset across government and private entities in the emirate and encourages the growth of the third sector through the establishment of new social enterprises.”
Who can apply
All enterprises whose activities are aligned with the social priorities defined by the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi can apply for the Ma’an Social Certificate free of charge. The Social Certificate is granted to social enterprises based in Abu Dhabi that have set a social goal as part of their organisational and operational objectives. Businesses based outside Abu Dhabi can also join the scheme upon establishing a branch in Abu Dhabi. Socially-driven businesses and entrepreneurs can apply for the certificate on Ma’an website.
The social certificate enables social enterprises to boost the credibility of their brand to the public and private sectors in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The recognition validates that the certified enterprises align their business activities with the social priorities of Abu Dhabi, and contributes to improving their sustainability and profitability. It also helps promote social entrepreneurship across the emirate by encouraging the growth and development of new socially-driven organisations.
The certified social enterprises can obtain Abu Dhabi’ branding recognition stamp and enjoy a host of direct and indirect incentives such as exclusive access to mentors and coaches, funding and networking opportunities, golden visa endorsement, as well as access to a learning management system and public procurement platforms. The socially certified businesses will also receive subsidies on their commercial licensing fees.
Companies must submit an annual report on the social impact of their programmes and initiatives to continue to benefit from the direct and indirect incentives offered by the social certificate.