A government scheme to incentivise and reward Emirati entrepreneurs, Tejar is going from strength to strength. We sum up what the programme offers, and how to get involved.

Take advantage of Tejar
It’s rarely the strength of a business idea that thwarts an entrepreneur. More often, it’s the practicalities: funding, planning, legalities, financial management… So programmes that guide and assist entrepreneurs over these hurdles are invaluable, far more so than just cash awards.

These programmes also contribute greatly to stimulating a nation’s business ideas, diversification and innovation, and to raising the profile of entrepreneurship generally: making them strategically rewarding for the body providing the scheme, as well as its recipients. They can also lead to job creation and economic expansion.

That’s the logic behind Tejar Dubai – a government scheme designed to identify and develop a select number of UAE national entrepreneurs by providing them with tailored individual learning experiences. Tejar particularly targets ideas for a new and sustainable businesses (rather than expanding/consolidating existing ones), with the aim of helping these ideas grow and advance to be ‘market ready’.

Who can apply?

Potential Emiratis entrepreneurs, aged between 18-45 years, with a fledging business idea.

Who selects the ‘winners’?

A panel of five esteemed Dubai business figures, who have themselves grown businesses and proved themselves as entrepreneurs, judge each application against set criteria. Their assessment is shared afterwards, making the process both fair and transparent.

What do chosen candidates get?

A personalised programme that lasts between 3–6 months, depending on the needs of the entrepreneur and their idea. This has three distinct components:
– An individually-tailored qualification programme, to help the entrepreneur overcome any challenges and prepare them for a successful start, launch and run of their business.
– Constructive work experience, with managerial coaching. Also tailored to take place in a organisation that will further mature the entrepreneur’s business idea. Typically, it includes time in different departments such as finance, marketing and client relations. The sector-specific experience is designed to help the entrepreneur further craft their business plan and refine their good/service offering.
– Mentorship from one of the panel experts, both providing direction on formulating the business plan further, and advancing the entrepreneur’s skillset.

Some success stories?

The founder of catering company Hamburgah, which aids parties by providing a barbeque service, reckons Tejar “made a huge difference” to his business. “They give you the support to be confident enough to go through with the business,” says Ahmed Al Mulla. Tejar introduced him to a number of banks, and offered to guarantee his loans. That means that Hamburgah can benefit from generous terms – a year of deferred repayments and a three-year window in which no interest will be charged. “We’d never get those terms anywhere else,” Mr Al Mulla added.

Maitha Al Zaabi, an accounting graduate, launched an auditing and consulting company for SMEs in Dubai after she noticed a business opportunity among friends of hers who had started their own companies but struggled to keep up with accounting. Tejar gave her office space, a business license and invited her to a number of seminars that Ms Al Zaabi says have been “very beneficial”.


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