Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) has signed an MoU with the Union National Bank (UNB) to initiate an annual award for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and their owners of UAE nationals. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Chairman of the UNB and Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the ADCCI signed the MoU. Khalfan Saeed Al Kaabi, 1st Vice-President of the ADCCI, Abdul Jaber Al Sayegh, Ali Sadek Al Blouchi and Abu Bakr Khouri, Board Members; Mohammed Al Nuaimi, Acting Director General of the ADCCI; Mohammed Naser Abdeen, Chief Executive Officer of the UNB and a number of the UNB officials attended the signing ceremony. Sheikh Nahyan said: “It is of my pleasure to cooperate with the ADCCI to launch such a distinguished award which comes from our awareness to motivate, encourage and support small and medium enterprises, and to offer consultancy to the owners of these enterprises so that we enhance competitiveness and pioneering spirits of young talents and students to start their own businesses”. “It comes from the desire of the bank to contribute towards encouraging those who want to initiate their projects through financial and moral support with the cooperation of the Chamber,” he added. Al Rumaithi said: “We are looking forward to the success of this award and to build a fruitful and continuous relations with the UNB through launching this award which would open up the door wide open in front of the UAE nationals and support their ideas about SMEs and encourage them to take serious steps into adopting them.” According to Al Rumaithi, the award includes five categories which are: The best Idea for a project or an investment in SMEs; the best idea for an outstanding SMEs which has been running for 5 to 6 years. The award will also include the categories of industrial, services, vocational and crafting projects. He also stressed that the ADCCI pays a lot of attention to SMEs within its strategy of Emiratising the economic sectors and encouraging UAE nationals to practice private trade, economic and services businesses which would contribute to the comprehensive and sustainable economic development process in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He noted that SMEs form more than 80 per cent of the total number of companies and establishments operating in the UAE and they are considered of an added value to the national economy. Al Rumaithi remarked that launching this award with the cooperation of the UNB comes within the hard efforts of the Chamber to encourage towards business pioneers in SMEs starting with an idea and ending with the execution of a project while ensuring its success, sustainability and its contribution to the national economy. He noted that such an award would boost competitiveness and pioneering, and elevate the initiatives among nationals to start up investments in SMEs in a way that increases their contribution to developing the national economy. Mohammed Naser Abdeen, Chief Executive Officer of the UNB, revealed that the bank assigned Dhs5 billion to fund SMEs during the coming three years saying: “We are aware of the importance of small and medium enterprises. This sector is one of the most contributors to the national economy. We have always had our belief in the power of the national youths, so we are very proud to sign this agreement which would nurture their skills and motivate the young investors who are an important source of practical and investment ideas.” “By signing this agreement, we reassure our commitment towards this pivotal sector which goes in line with the visions of the government of the UAE in expanding the provided services for small and medium enterprises,” he added. The Union National Bank has launched a number of products and services to more serve this sector. The bank also offers facilities and loans for SMEs that cope with the needs of young nationals by providing capitals and supporting foreign trade.