Kuwaiti fund supports SMEs to develop digital applications

Kuwait’s National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE Power to incubate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to build digital industrial applications for the power generation sector and to strengthen their economic growth and competitiveness.

The initiative ties in with the fund’s vision to build an inclusive, collaborative and innovative ecosystem for entrepreneurs to lay the foundation for economic opportunities in Kuwait.

In the presence of Khaled Al Roudhan, Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Youth Affairs; Lawrence R. Silverman, US Ambassador to Kuwait; Scott L. Strazik. President and CEO of GE’s Power Services business; Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE’s Power Services business in the Middle East, Africa and India; board members of The National Fund; and high-ranking officials of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), the MoU was signed in Kuwait City by Abdullah Hamad Al Jouan, Chairman of the Board and President of the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development, and Bhanu Shekhar, Chief Digital Officer of GE Power in the Middle East and Africa.

“This agreement is in line with the Ministry’s strategy to support young entrepreneurs and create an ideal business environment for them to achieve the desired success for their enterprises,” said Khaled Al Roudhan. “The continuous collaboration between the various departments within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has paved the way towards reaching this agreement, which is in turn the result of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority’s support and concentrated efforts to attract international investors, such as GE, and facilitate new initiatives to empower young entrepreneurs and give them access to the innovative services and technologies available within the GE Kuwait Technology Centre.”

As per the MoU, The National Fund and GE Power will identify, train and help entrepreneurs to grow SMEs that will develop digital applications for the industrial sector based on the Predix platform, GE’s application development platform for the Industrial Internet, which was built to meet the scale, complexity, speed and security requirements of industry. Digitization can unlock tremendous benefits for industry. A report issued by the World Economic Forum in 2016 stated that $1.3 trillion of value can be realized purely by deploying and adopting digital technologies over the next ten years in the electricity sector alone.

“Digital technologies are a game changer that support businesses to scale up, enhance operational efficiency and achieve higher levels of productivity. Building the digital skills of Kuwaiti entrepreneurs on GE’s Predix platform is a significant means to help realize their true potential. This collaboration will enable and inspire them to integrate digital tools as well as innovate new, more efficient and highly productive ways to boost growth. GE’s global experience in leading the digital transformation of industry, together with its local presence and knowledge, make them an excellent organization to collaborate with on this initiative,” added Abdullah Hamad Al Jouan.

“Today’s MoU is aligned with the goals of the Kuwait National Development Plan to create new job opportunities, support the SME ecosystem, and contribute to the diversification and competitiveness of the economy. The fund is setting an example as a world-class institution that is mapping out a vision for the future of the region – one where the public and private sectors come together to drive the digital transformation of the economy and reap the many benefits it offers. We are honored to support this journey,” noted Joseph Anis.

The Predix platform is already widely implemented across the Middle East and Africa, including at large utilities. Through the MoU, Kuwaiti SMEs will have the opportunity to participate in the ongoing digital transformation of the power sector, helping to enhance the industry’s efficiency and reliability, while lowering its carbon footprint.

Additionally, as the region turns towards a rising share of intermittent renewable energy in the overall generation mix, Predix-based Industrial Internet of Things applications can help enhance grid stability by improving the flexibility of the power generation sector so operators can ramp up or down power supplies more quickly.

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