Cultural and creative industries worldwide are struggling with the shutdown effects of Covid-19 but the UAE government is taking a proactive stance to support these local communities with the National Creative Relief Program. The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development first released this initiative in May, providing various increments of financial assistance to freelancers and small businesses negatively affected by the pandemic. After seeing the unimaginable value it added to 50 people in 37 companies, the Ministry recently rolled out the second phase of the program, offering even larger grants under its umbrella.
Whether a member of the media, design, visual or performing arts, or heritage institutions, UAE residents, Emiratis, and companies with less than 10 employees can apply online on the Ministry’s website for an opportunity to receive sums between AED 15,000 to AED 75,000—a considerable increase from the previous AED 50,000 cap. New to this second stage is also a category for businesses with 10 to 20 employees after seeing the continuing “urgent need” for these modest enterprises in the creative field, said HE Noura AlKaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.
“We increased the financial value of the grant to a maximum of AED 75,000 in order to maintain the sustainability of these companies, and ensure their growth and development in the creative market to drive the process of cultural development and knowledge sharing that comes at the forefront of the UAE’s development pillars,” explained AlKaabi.
Submissions for the program are currently being accepted until Tuesday, July 14, and will be reviewed by a dedicated committee that will evaluate the applicant’s current financial obligations, lost opportunities due to Covid-19, and prior successes. The UAE is an epicenter for creativity not only in the Middle East but also in the world with a flourishing community of established and emerging talents. Recognizing the potentially serious and detrimental impact this health crisis could have on innovation and creative development within the country, UAE leaders are stepping in to support these tenacious visionaries because “creativity is a blessing”.
“The creative sector is the most resilient and powerful in the region, thanks to the close co-operation between different institutions that enrich the cultural scene in the country and ensure the competitiveness of the creative economy in the UAE,” said AlKaabi. “Many creative communities have provided support programs and economic incentives to encourage entrepreneurs and creatives to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis.”