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Masdar City, Mashreq Bank to boost UAE’s SME, start-up ecosystem

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Masdar City and Mashreq Bank have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide financial services to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups based in the City. This will include easy access to NeoBiz, the bank’s first digital banking platform designed specifically for start-ups and SMEs.

The MoU was signed by Abdulla Balalaa, executive director of Masdar City, and Vikas Thapar, executive vice president, head of Business Banking & NeoBiz at Mashreq Bank, at an official ceremony this week.

Balalaa said, “Masdar City is currently home to more than 1,000 companies, including a wide range of innovation-focused SMEs and start-ups. Through this strategic collaboration with Mashreq Bank, companies in Masdar City will have direct access to the bank’s cutting-edge suite of specially designed services to facilitate the upscaling of their operations.

“The City is Abu Dhabi’s only planned and approved R&D cluster. To businesses, we offer a unique ecosystem of education, R&D, and innovation, that allows them to develop and thrive and supports Abu Dhabi’s position as a world-leading business destination. At Masdar City, we are shaping and incubating the sustainable industries of tomorrow, and we look forward to adding Mashreq Bank to our valuable list of partners.”

Thapar stated that the agreement will enable Mashreq Bank to increase customer acquisition while also raising awareness of the bank’s digital platforms.

“Our commitment to fostering the SME ecosystem and efforts to catalyse SME development led to the development of NeoBiz and its suite of specially designed services. Through this partnership, Masdar City-based businesses will reap the benefits of NeoBiz, Mashreq Bank’s first start-up/SME focused digital banking platform, giving them further opportunity to adapt and grow rapidly,” Thapar added.

Via its Free Zone, Masdar City already offers easy access to a range of vital business services and benefits, including registration, government relations, visa processing, 100 per cent foreign ownership; 0 per cent import tariffs; dual-licensing; a rapid set-up process; reduced tax footprint, highly cost-effective licensing and office space, and a pro-business environment, access to R&D partnerships, and the freedom of repatriation of both capital and profits.

The City is also home to a range of international organisations, including the International Renewable Energy Agency, the UAE Space Agency, the regional headquarters of Siemens Energy, G42 Healthcare, the Advanced Technology Research Council, and the world’s first university dedicated to artificial intelligence, the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence.

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Sheikh Mohammed pardons 686 prisoners ahead of Eid Al Adha 2024

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Thursday ordered the release of 686 inmates in correctional facilities on the occasion of Eid Al Adha.

Counselor Issam Issa Al Humaidan, Attorney General of the Emirate of Dubai said that the Public Prosecution immediately began coordinating with the Dubai Police General Command to implement the release order.

President Sheikh Mohamed had earlier ordered the release of 1,138 prisoners. These inmates have been sentenced in various cases, and the President ensured the payment of the fines owed to them.

It is common practice for Rulers of each of the UAE’s emirates to pardon prisoners during significant Islamic occasions. The President’s pardon allows the released prisoners to rethink their future and positively contribute to the service of their families and communities to lead successful social and professional lives.

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New federal traffic law announced in UAE

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A new federal law on traffic was approved on Monday by the UAE Cabinet, according to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.

Under the new law, there will be amendments to the classification of vehicles and the use of modern technologies on the roads. This move aims to keep pace with the rapid development witnessed by the transport industry globally.

he Dubai Ruler said that the new legislation will cover the expansion of the use of self-driving vehicles and electric cars. The law will also look at various types of personal means of transportation, and reliance on transportation as a whole.

The provisions also highlight the categories excluded from obtaining driving licenses, suspension of driving licenses and permits, vehicle insurance and inspection, and regulations for driving schools.The federal traffic law will take advantage of the technological progress that characterises the country’s road network.

This law was announced by Sheikh Mohammed after he chaired a meeting of the UAE Cabinet, where several matters were discussed and approved, in line with the country’s commitment to development.

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UAE announces new telemarketing rules to protect consumers

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Cold callers in the UAE face fines of AED 150,000 under strict new regulations announced by the Ministry of Economy, and the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TRA), aimed at protecting people from persistent telemarketers.

From August, companies will be barred from calling customers back if they reject the service in the initial conversation and they cannot phone back if the call is declined or ended. 

Telemarketing calls will also only be allowed to be made from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and companies will need prior approval from authorities and face the threat of termination of operating licences if rules are broken.  When the new rules come in marketing calls can only be made from numbers of licensed companies as opposed to individual or personal numbers. 

Customers can file a complaint if any of the new rules are broken. The rules apply to all companies in the UAE, including those in free zones. 

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