Dubai-based intern recruitment portal InternsME has become the first recipient of funding disbursed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), a $540 million fund sponsored by the U.A.E. government. InternsME received $540,000 in the disbursement, according to a company spokesperson.
Founded in 2012, InternsME is an online career platform that connects students and graduates in the U.A.E. to employers for internships, part-time positions and entry-level jobs from a variety of employers. The startup reports that its platform is used by more than 130,000 students and graduates, while more than 1,000 businesses use it to advertise positions. Currently, the company only operates in the U.A.E., but plans to enter the Saudi Arabian market soon.
In addition to the funds from MBRIF, InternsME has raised $800,000 in investment from angel investors in seed rounds.
“In today’s knowledge-based economy, this encouragement is extremely critical,” said InternsME CEO Jean-Michel Gauthier in a press release regarding the funding. “By working together, we are building the economy of the future, creating the jobs of today and tomorrow, and gearing up for global success that will benefit the youth of the U.A.E.”
Launched in late 2016, the MBRIF was developed by the U.A.E.’s Ministry of Finance to help companies access funding through the provision of a government-backed guarantee. RAK Bank served as the lead lender for the disbursement to InternsME, while Emirates Development Bank hosts and operates the fund.
Funding from the MBRIF is open to any company that’s registered in the U.A.E., regardless of whether it’s Emirati or not. However, the fund reports it gives priority to businesses in renewable energy, health, transportation, education, technology, space exploration and water conservation.
Speaking about the MBRIF’s disbursement, U.A.E. Ministry of Finance Under-Secretary Younis Al Khoori said, “The biggest challenge facing innovation-focused companies and entrepreneurs is that securing the crucial funding required to sustain their business. MBRIF is the critical partner that links these individuals and companies to banks and financial institutions.”