15 Oct 2023
Ministry of Economy & Intesa Sanpaolo banking group sign partnership agreement to finance startups in circular economy
Eight billion euros to be made available to support UAE companies over the next three years
The Ministry of Economy signed a strategic agreement with the Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo and its innovation center to promote the adoption of circular economy principles and design a system for it in the UAE.
The MOU was signed by H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, Mauro Michelo, Head of the Corporate Banking and Investment Sector at IMI, Intesa San Paolo Group, and Paolo Maria Vittorio Grande, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Intesa San Paolo Innovation Center.
H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri said: “The circular economy transition is of great importance to the UAE government to promote sustainable economic development, in line with our wise leadership’s vision. We seek to move forward in this direction by strengthening our strategic partnership with the private sector, various stakeholders and leading global companies to achieve our goals in this regard. The signing of the strategic agreement with the Intesa San Paolo group marks a key turning point in enhancing the UAE economy’s competitiveness and consolidating its position as a leading circular economy at regional and global levels.”
The UAE chose Intesa San Paolo as a partner in its circular economy transition thanks to the Group's proven capabilities in supporting startups and existing companies in the field in the Middle East region.
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, through its branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, will cooperate with the Ministry in designing and launching relevant policies to encourage the adoption of circular economy practices, promote innovative business models, and develop an ecosystem comprising institutions, universities, research centers, companies and startups.
The first phase of the project, which includes environmental mapping and identifying the opportunities in the UAE and stakeholders, will benefit from the participation of the Cariplo Factory Innovation Centre, which was established in partnership with the Intesa San Paolo Innovation Center of the Milan-based Circular Economy Laboratory.
Future measures include strengthening the partnership between Intesa San Paolo and the UAE Circular Economy Council, which was established by the UAE government to develop and implement policies for the transition towards a circular economy. The Council seeks to explore the possibility of establishing a “Circular Economy Laboratory” in the UAE for promoting circular economy models within the local economy.
Intesa Sanpaolo will support the structuring and financing of local circular economy projects by leveraging 8 billion euros allocated to circular model financing as outlined in the Action Plan 2022-2025. In addition, the Intesa San Paolo Innovation Center will provide guidance through its Circular Economy Laboratory, acceleration programs for startups, and support from venture capital funds provided by its subsidiary Neva SGR.
Mauro Michelo, Head of Corporate Banking and Investment at IMI, Intesa San Paolo Group, said: “We are proud to partner with the UAE and put our unique expertise at its disposal to enhance its journey towards a circular economy. Our branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are cooperating with the Intesa San Paolo Innovation Center to support companies and startups in this field. These companies in the UAE have access to capital, as well as the appropriate conditions for growth, especially within the framework of the circular economy."
Paolo Maria Vittorio Grande, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center said: “Our circular economy team has been working with the UAE government since 2018, capitalizing on our experience in implementing several initiatives that support the circular economy model in the Middle East and North Africa. We are honored to be chosen by the UAE Ministry of Economy to provide assistance in the field of circular economy. It encourages us to continue our mission of enabling institutions and companies of all sizes, in addition to startups, with the best tools to understand and deal with the radical transformation that the circular economy creates.”