Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) has just announced its first funding recipient—the Dubai-based startup InternsME. The innovative intern recruitment platform got US$ 540,000 in fresh capital to grow its business.
Founded five years ago, InternsME is an online career site, connecting fresh graduates and UAE companies looking for young talents. More than 1,000 employers are using the platform to publish their available positions. Although currently, this site that offers internships, part-time jobs, and entry-level positions for over 130,000 registered students is only active in the UAE, it will expand to Saudi Arabia soon.
In the past, InternsME managed to raise over US$800,000 in seed funding from venture capitalists. As Jean-Michel Gauthier, the CEO of InternsME commented, the recent investments would help the startup build the economy of the future and the leaders of tomorrow to benefit the UAE development.
The Under-Secretary of the UAE Ministry of Finance, Younis Haji Al Khoori said that the most significant challenge for the local young entrepreneurs is getting adequate access to funding. The Ministry of Finance has been working hard to fill in this gap and the establishment of the MBRIF disbursement fund is a step in the right direction to encourage entrepreneurship among the UAE youth.
The government-backed US$ 540 million fund was launched in 2016. Its primary goal is to offer state financial guarantee to newly-established companies. Any business registered in the UAE can apply for funding, regardless of the nationality of its owner. However, the fund gives priority to innovative ideas in the field of renewable energy, space exploration, transportation, healthcare, education, technology, and water conservation. MBRIF connects young entrepreneurs with banks and financial institutions to secure funding for their business activities. In the case of InternsME, the Emirates Development Bank hosted and operated the fund, while RAK bank served as a primary lender of the disbursement.