A North East investment expert has been appointed to a panel of worldwide advisors who will work with the United Arab Emirates’ government on the investment of a new £500m innovation fund.
Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, is one of 11 members of the Advisory & Decision Committee that has been formed as part of the launch of the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund, a UAE Ministry of Finance-backed initiative designed to support local innovators in accessing affordable finance.
Yvonne and her fellow committee members, who are business leaders and academics from every part of the world, were recruited by consultants PwC, who were tasked by the UAE government with finding expert individuals who could offer a diverse range of ideas and knowledge.
And she is hoping that being part of the committee will have direct benefits for the work that NEL carries out across the North East.
The committee will work with the Innovation Fund team to help shape its long-term strategy, review the applications that it receives from across the UAE and provide opinions on which are suitable for support from the Fund, which will be in the form of a government-backed guarantee.
Yvonne recently flew to Dubai to attend the launch of the Fund, which was carried out by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and to take part in the UAE’s inaugural Innovation Week, which showcased a variety of innovative initiatives from across both the public and private sectors.
The Innovation Fund has been set up as part of the UAE’s continuing drive to diversify its economy through building its own base of small and medium-sized businesses and to thus reduce its reliance on imports from overseas.
Yvonne Gale is one of only three UK-based members of the Advisory & Decision Committee, and will travel to Dubai twice a year as part of her role, as well as working remotely at other times alongside her duties with NEL.
She says: “There are many parallels between the aims of the Innovation Fund and the work that NEL continues to undertake in terms of using financial instruments to encourage growth and entrepreneurialism, and my experience of enabling this to occur in North East England is directly relevant to what the UAE government is looking to achieve.
“The UAE is very committed to its long-term strategic goal of creating a diversified world class economy, and there is a huge drive towards providing innovators and businesses across the area with the infrastructure required to achieve it.
“A great deal of value is being placed by the UAE government on the advice that the Committee will provide in support of its decision making processes, and its members have a wide variety of high level academic and business experience on which to draw.
“Being asked to be part of such a high profile project reflects well on the investment work that NEL has been carrying out in the North East for over a quarter of a century, and also gives me an opportunity to develop my own knowledge in ways that will benefit what we do here in the future.”
Originally founded in 1989, NEL Fund Managers has made 146 investments worth a total of £30m from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund over the last seven years.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.