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Abu Dhabi launches $136 million fund to help SMEs adapt smart manufacturing

The emirate aims to double the size of its manufacturing sector to $46 billion.

Abu Dhabi launches $136 million fund to help SMEs adapt smart manufacturing
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Abu Dhabi has launched a $136 million fund to support SMEs to adopt smart manufacturing technology to increase the emirate’s global competitiveness.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) introduced the smart manufacturing incentive program and the Smart Manufacturing Competence Centre (SMCC) to help SMEs in the industrial sector adopt new industry techniques and practices.

The incentive program is designed by ADDED’s Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) to support SMEs in their transformation journey. The five-year program aims to transform 30% of SMEs in Abu Dhabi’s manufacturing sector into smart manufacturing operations. It targets industrial SMEs in sub-sectors such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery, transportation, electrical, and electronics.

As for the SMCC, it is aimed to act as a catalyst for local and global industrial stakeholders. Set to begin operations in the first quarter of 2024, it will focus on accelerating the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, developing and scaling new technologies, and attracting foreign direct investments.

It will offer manufacturers detailed plans for their digital transformation, including training, workshops, innovation funding schemes, technical advisory services, and reliable testbeds. It will also connect ecosystem stakeholders, aggregate smart manufacturing services, and offer a one-stop shop for Industry 4.0 technologies.

The emirate is investing $2.72 billion across the programs to double the size of its manufacturing sector to $46 billion, create 13,600 skilled jobs and increase the emirate’s non-oil exports to $48 billion by 2031.

The new initiatives are a valuable addition to turbocharging the next phase of the diversification strategy, said Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED). “We believe supporting the transition to Industry 4.0 will positively contribute to driving innovation, enhancing the growth of knowledge-based sectors, and increasing non-oil GDP.”

He added, “[It] reflects our efforts to provide financial support to SME manufactures’ transformation towards Industry 4.0 applications and create a favorable, enabling investment environment. This will ultimately enhance the industrial sector’s competitiveness, support the attraction of domestic and foreign direct investments, and cement Abu Dhabi’s status as a leading industrial powerhouse.”

The announcements were made on the Make It in the Emirates forum held in the UAE capital.

The UAE is also set to launch a series of initiatives, such as setting up new industrial units to increase industrial exports, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, announced at the forum.

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