Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for Accelerator

  • 1. What is the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF)?

    The MBRIF is a federal initiative by the UAE Ministry of Finance (MoF). The initiative seeks to identify and nurture high potential innovations both within the UAE and abroad. It aims to enhance growth potential of innovative businesses and shape the future of the UAE’s economy. Currently, the MBRIF consists of two programs, these are:
    • The Guarantee Scheme (launched 2016)
    • The Accelerator (launched 2018)
    The MBRIF focuses on the seven sectors of the UAE National Innovation Strategy: Technology, Education, Water, Transport, Clean Energy, Health and Space.

  • 2. What is the MBRIF Accelerator?

    The MBRIF Accelerator is a program launched by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) under the MBRIF initiative, designed to offer world-class services and coaching to member companies, to accelerate their business, elevate capabilities, unlock value and achieve scale. It’s a 9 month program providing tangible support and growth to members.

  • 3. Why did the Ministry of Finance launch the MBRIF Accelerator?

    One of the key pillars of the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy is to create an ‘Innovation Enabling Environment’. The Ministry of Finance aims to play a key role in realizing the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy by serving as a government enabler to encourage and support innovators in the UAE and from around the world.

    To fulfill this vision, the Ministry of Finance launched the MBRIF Accelerator to identify high potential innovators and provide them with access to an integrated ecosystem of partners, services and resources to help them grow or scale-up.

  • 4. What is the purpose of the MBRIF Accelerator?

    The Accelerator was launched with clear objectives in mind– to transform the innovation landscape in the UAE, inject a culture of innovation in the DNA of the UAE and transform the nation’s economy, which aligns directly with the UAE Innovation Strategy and the UAE 2021 Vision.

    As the UAE aspires to be among the most innovative countries in the world by 2021, we believe the Accelerator will play a key role in accelerating the development of a nation-wide innovation-based culture, attracting and nurturing the best talent, and creating a tangible impact on the UAE’s economy.

  • 5. How does the Accelerator work?

    Innovators from the UAE and around the world can apply through our website here for a chance to be a part of the Accelerator.

    Upon selection, the Accelerator will give innovators access to a broad array of services and coaching to accelerate their innovations, elevate capabilities, unlock value and achieve scale.

  • 6. What is the role of EY within the Accelerator?

    The Ministry has selected EY as the operator of the Accelerator program in view of our shared commitment to building a more innovative environment in the UAE, in line with the UAE Innovation Strategy. EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services, with over 95 years in the Middle East and an established presence in the UAE since 1966.

    The Accelerator is operated by EY to equip innovators with the right knowledge and skills, and to complement financial support provided by the MBRIF. EY has an extended global network of over 250,000+ employees, who can be made available to the members of the MBRIF Accelerator from over 700 offices in over 150 countries around the world.

  • 7. How is the Accelerator different from other accelerators in the UAE?

    Our Accelerator provides a broad range of services tailored to our member’s most pressing needs. We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach, and take the time to get to know you and your business and tailor our services to you in order to help you grow.

    Our operations are run by professional advisors, and our members will have access to coaching from the UAE and around the world to support your growth ambitions and shape your business. Our program is 9-month long, which gives businesses sufficient time to benefit from the value we bring, but also implement leading practices to transform operations.

  • 8. How will the Accelerator help businesses?

    We’re a member-centric program, crafting tailored action plans for every business and working with them every step of the way. Each member is assigned a coach to understand their most pressing needs, shape a plan of action to address those needs, and work with them to address those needs through our network of partners, coaches, experts and other resources.

  • 9. What type of innovators should apply to the Accelerator?

    All innovators who want to create businesses of the future should apply! Our Accelerator model is centered on innovation and geared towards helping to accelerate the development of innovations, elevating capabilities, unlocking value and achieving scale.
    We also aim to enable market access for global innovators, leveraging the UAE’s position as a gateway between east and west.

  • 10. Can any business apply to be a part of the Accelerator?

    You can check your eligibility online here and confirm that you fulfill the following criteria:
    • Your company is UAE based or you are looking to set up your business in the UAE in the near future
    • Your business falls under one of the 7 UAE National Innovation Strategy priority sectors
    • Your novel technique, product, process or service is in a post ideation phase of development
    • Your business has strong market potential

  • 11. What are the different sectors that your program focuses on?

    Our program primarily focuses on priority 7 sectors as outlined in the UAE’s Innovation Strategy. These sectors are: health, education, transportation, clean energy, technology, space and water.
    However, you can still apply if you’re not aligned with one of those sectors. We welcome and give due consideration to all innovations.

  • 12. If I do not fall within one of your sectors and sub-sectors, am I still eligible to apply?

    Yes. We welcome and give due consideration to all innovations.
    If you feel you have an innovative solution that either tackles a conventional problem in a new way or solves a global challenge, we encourage you to apply.

  • 13. What profile of applicants are you looking for? What stage of growth are you looking for?

    Typically, we look for applicants who have a working prototype of their innovation. We welcome all innovations and will give each of them due consideration, however our services are designed specifically for businesses with an innovation that has either been launched in the market or is ready to be launched.

  • 14. What is the minimum age or nationality requirement for entry into the Accelerator?

    The Accelerator has no age or nationality requirements. You only need to fulfill the criteria as outlined above.

  • 15. Are there any fees to join, will the Accelerator take equity stake from businesses or are there any other costs associated to members?

    No. Our member-centric focus means that we do not take any equity stake, membership fees or success fees from you.

  • 16. When do you begin accepting applications?

    Our members are announced on a quarterly basis.
    If applications are not open, please register your interest on our website here, and we will keep you posted.

  • 17. What happens after I apply to the Accelerator program?

    After applying on our website here, you will need to go through a four-step process including: an eligibility screening, a qualification assessment, a final evaluation and pitch.

  • 18. What do I need to do for the pitch?

    If you pass the first three stages of the application process, you will be asked to attend a Pitch Day to talk about your innovation in front of an independent panel, the Advisory & Decision Committee, who will determine your suitability to join the Accelerator.

  • 19. Who is on the Advisory and Decision Committee?

    The Advisory and Decision Committee (ADC) is comprised of up to 12 members, consisting of senior executives from leading government and private institutions.

    Committee members were selected based on their sector expertise within the 7 sectors under the UAE’s Innovation Strategy as well as their involvement in innovation initiatives.

  • 20. Do I need to pitch in person if I qualify for the Pitch Day?

    In person is best but we cater to international applicants and we have a method that allows you to pitch remotely.

  • 21. How long are the different stages of the application process?

    Each stage ahead of the Pitch Day stage is open for around 2-3 weeks to allow you to fill in your questionnaires. During each stage we have a 2-week window to review responses prior to updating you on the next steps.

  • 22. Typically, how long does the application and selection process take end-to-end?

    Overall the application process can take up to 4 months from initial application through to selection and announcement.

  • 23. Does it matter if I don’t currently operate or have an office in the UAE?

    No. However, we would like to enable you to establish operations within the UAE before you graduate from the program to support the innovation’s success.
    Non-UAE businesses are welcome to apply. What matters most to our program is the quality of the innovation itself. Our primary focus with non-UAE based businesses is to enable them to successfully penetrate and grow within the UAE market. There is no requirement to move to the UAE, we simply would like to open the doors to allow you to do so at your choice.

  • 24. What information do I need to apply?

    For the first stage, you will need to fill in a brief application that answers basic information about your innovation and your business. As you progress through our selection process, each stage will look to further understand your innovation, broader business, and overall fit with our program.
    Each stage ahead of the Pitch Day will give you ample time to answer any required questions and submit any supporting document.

  • 25. Where can I apply?

    Application to the Accelerator is done by clicking here.
    Please follow the steps outlined.

  • 26. Do I need to create an account on the application portal for each person that will fill in the company’s application?

    No. You can only create one log in account per company. Multiple users can log into the same account to fill in different parts of the data.

  • 27. Who can I speak to if I have any further questions, clarifications or technical issues?

    In case of any questions or issues, please drop us an e-mail at contact@mbrif.ae or contact us through here.

  • 28. Are the details I share about my business confidential?

    Yes. Any information you provide via e-mail or through our application form is confidential.
    Please keep in mind that all the information you provide will enable our team to formulate an understanding of your business and will be strictly utilized to evaluate your potential as a future member of our program.

  • 29. How do you use the information I share about my business?

    We use any information you provide to guide us in the review and scoring of your application.

  • 30. If I am not selected, can I apply again for future cohorts?

    Yes. You can apply to the accelerator again if you are not selected. You can do this by clicking here and re-applying to future intakes. We encourage you to apply again if you’ve made progress since your last application.

  • 31. What happens to businesses after they complete their program with the Accelerator?

    Every one of our members will have access to a range of services which will help them grow. Upon completion of the program, we hope to equip you with the skills, knowledge and capabilities you need in order to grow your business outside of our Accelerator, while continuing to have an impact on the economy of the UAE. Where appropriate, we will refer graduating members to affiliate programs to continue their development journeys.

    Additionally, graduating members will become alumni of our program and will be invited to work with future cohorts, attend program events and can opt to join future masterclasses tackling a variety of subjects.

  • 32. How much funding will members of the Accelerator be provided with?

    Members of the Accelerator do not receive direct funding from the Accelerator or the MBRIF. However, our members are given access to a global ecosystem of experts and coaching to help them unlock the real value of their business innovations and are also connected to our extended network of partners and investors for potential funding requirements.

    The MBRIF also offers another program, the Guarantee Scheme, which provides innovators with financial support through a government-backed credit guarantee, without taking any equity. For more information on the Guarantee Scheme, please visit their webpage here.

  • 33. If I am a part of the Accelerator, am I guaranteed support from the Guarantee Scheme?

    No. The Accelerator and the Guarantee Scheme are two independent programs provided by the MBRIF. Members of the Accelerator are free to apply for financial support from the Guarantee Scheme, subject to the requirements of that program. However, participating in the Accelerator does not guarantee support from the Guarantee Scheme.

FAQs for Guarantee Scheme

  • 1. What is the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF)?

    The MBRIF is a federal initiative by the UAE Ministry of Finance. The initiative seeks to identify and nurture high potential innovations both within the UAE and abroad. It aims to enhance growth potential of innovative businesses and shape the future of the UAE’s economy. Currently, the MBRIF consists of two programs, these are:
    • The Guarantee Scheme (launched in 2016) – Financial Services
    • The Accelerator (launched in 2018) – Non-Financial Services
    The MBRIF focuses on the seven sectors of the UAE National Innovation Strategy: Technology, Education, Water, Transport, Clean Energy, Health and Space.

  • 2. What is the Guarantee Scheme?

    The Guarantee Scheme is a program launched by the Ministry of Finance under the MBRIF initiative, which provides innovative companies with access to affordable debt finance in the UAE, enabled by a government-backed guarantee to a bank listed with the MBRIF.

  • 3. What is the purpose of the Guarantee Scheme?

    The purpose of the Guarantee Scheme is to promote and accelerate the growth of innovative companies by bridging the financing gap faced by innovators with affordable loans and reduced collateral requirements.

  • 4. How does the Guarantee Scheme work?

    Innovators from the UAE and around the world can apply through our website for a chance to be a part of our program.
    The Guarantee Scheme does not take any equity, but enables access to affordable debt finance to our members in the UAE by issuing a government-backed guarantee to a bank listed with the MBRIF, against which, the bank provides loans to our members.

  • 5. What is the role of EDB within the Guarantee Scheme?

    The Emirates Development Bank (EDB) and the Guarantee Scheme have a shared vision to help promote initiatives that contribute towards the UAE’s economic development and diversification. Due to this alignment of goals, EDB was appointed as the host and operator of the Guarantee Scheme, to evaluate online funding applications, manage client relationships and handle all administrative operations related to the Guarantee Scheme.

  • 6. How is the Guarantee Scheme different from other financing programs in the UAE?

    The Guarantee Scheme program allows applications from any nationality and does not take any equity in return, enabling financing through loans which are non-dilutive.

  • 7. What type of innovators should apply to the Guarantee Scheme?

    All innovative companies that are UAE-based or willing to be based in the UAE and want to create businesses of the future should apply!

  • 8. Can any business apply to be a part of the Guarantee Scheme?

    You can check your eligibility online and confirm that you fulfill the following criteria:
    • Your company is UAE-based or you are looking to set up your business in the UAE in the near future
    • Your business falls under one of the 7 UAE National Innovation Strategy priority sectors
    • Your novel technique, product, process or service is in a post ideation phase of development
    • Your business has strong market potential

  • 9. What are the different sectors that your program focuses on?

    Our program primarily focuses on priority 7 sectors as outlined in the UAE’s Innovation Strategy. These sectors are: health, education, transportation, clean energy, technology, space and water.
    However, that does not prevent you from applying if you’re not aligned with one of those sectors. We welcome and give due consideration to all innovations.

  • 10. What profile of applicants are you looking for? What stage of growth are you looking for?

    Typically, we look for innovative companies who have already commercialized their product or service and have a clear path to breakeven.

  • 11. Typically, how long does the application and selection process take end-to-end?

    Overall the application process can take up to 4 months from initial application through to selection and communication of final decision. This is assuming that the applicant has submitted all documents and information, and has been cooperative in furnishing any additional information requested throughout the due diligence process.

  • 12. Where can I apply?

    Application to the Guarantee Scheme is found here.
    Please register/login to start filling in the online application.

  • 13. Who can I speak to if I have any further questions, clarifications or technical issues?

    In case of any questions or issues, please drop us an e-mail at info@mbrinnovationfund.ae or here.

  • 14. Are the details I share about my business confidential?

    Yes. Any information you provide via e-mail or through our application form is confidential.
    Please keep in mind that all the information you provide will enable our team to formulate an understanding of your business and will be strictly utilized to evaluate your potential as a future member of our program.

  • 15. What should businesses do after they receive an approval / Letter of Intent from the Guarantee Scheme?

    The Guarantee Scheme team will assist the business by introducing them to one of the MBRIF’s listed banks, upon which they can start interacting directly to complete the respective bank’s requirements. Once all conditions set out in the MBRIF Letter of Intent and the bank’s requirements are satisfied, the bank will proceed to disburse the funds as per the approved terms.

  • 16. Does the Guarantee Scheme also provide non-financial services?

    The Guarantee Scheme is specifically designed for financial services. However, the MBRIF has another program, the Accelerator program, which offers innovators world-class services and coaching delivered by a global network of experts and partners to accelerate their business, without taking any equity or fees.
    Applicants are free to apply to the Accelerator for access to non-financial services. For more information on the Accelerator, please visit here.

  • 17. If I am a part of the Guarantee Scheme, am I guaranteed support from the Accelerator?

    No. The Guarantee Scheme and the Accelerator are two independent programs provided by the MBRIF. Members of the Guarantee Scheme are free to apply to the Accelerator, subject to the requirements of that program. Participating in the Guarantee Scheme does not guarantee support from the Accelerator.

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