Ma’an Announces Official Launch of Social Enterprise Accreditation in Abu Dhabi

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  • First-of-its-kind scheme in UAE allows socially-driven organisations to obtain branding recognition stamp
  • 27 social enterprises earn accreditation during pilot phase
  • Innovative tool enables socially driven businesses to grow sustainably in a highly competitive market

Abu Dhabi-UAE: Following Abu Dhabi’s third sector development strategy of the Department of Community Development – Abu Dhabi and its social enterprises’ classification framework, the Authority for Social Contributions (Ma’an) today announced the official launch of its Accreditation for Social Enterprises, a first-of-its-kind scheme in the UAE that provides socially-driven organisations with branding recognition stamp to signify their status as a socially certified enterprise.

The announcement was made at a special ceremony hosted by Ma’an today at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi. The event drew the participation of His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi, Sheikha Shamma bint Khalifa bin Hamdan Al Nahyan of the Al Mubarakah Foundation, Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, and several senior officials from relevant social organisations in Abu Dhabi.

Serving as an innovative tool to enable socially-driven enterprises and businesses to grow sustainably in a highly competitive market, the scheme provides certified entities with a range of direct and indirect benefits and incentives.

Through the accreditation, Ma’an aims to drive social entrepreneurship, support the establishment and growth of social SMEs, secure measurable social impact led by community-based enterprises, and create a multiplier effect of social value that supports the development of innovative solutions and initiatives to tackle Abu Dhabi’s key social priorities.

A number of social enterprises and businesses that fulfilled the accreditation criteria during the pilot phase from March to July 2022 were awarded with the social certificate at the official launch ceremony.

Through the accreditation scheme, Ma’an seeks to elevate awareness about the third sector and highlight the role of enterprises operating and sustainably serving the community within Abu Dhabi’s social sector.

Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, said: “Today, we are presenting to different strata and segments of Abu Dhabi community – individuals and organisations – an innovative initiative that will transform the third sector landscape in the emirate. In launching this scheme, we aim to highlight the important role of socially driven organisations in offering a variety of products and services that fulfil the communities needs and achieve the government’s social priorities.”

Her Excellency Al Ameemi added: “As the UAE’S first government accreditation body for social enterprises, Ma’an appreciates the confidence reposed on us by the government and is aware of the great responsibility that we have in serving our country and society. We will continue to function as an important link between government, private and third sectors to create a positive and sustainable social impact, while promoting collaboration and integration among various segments of society in Abu Dhabi.”

Her Excellency Al Ameemi noted that the accreditation will act as a catalyst for a positive economic and social change through embedding a social procurement mindset in the delivery of various services and products, both at individual and organisational levels. “We are delighted for the unwavering support received from our strategic partners in this key project, including the Department of Community Development, the Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Global Market, who helped Ma’an bring an essential initiative to life,” added Her Excellency.

All enterprises whose activities are aligned with the social priorities defined by the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi can apply for the Ma’an Social Certificate free of charge. The Social Certificate is granted to social enterprises based in Abu Dhabi that have set a social goal as part of their organisational and operational objectives. Businesses based outside Abu Dhabi can also join the scheme upon establishing a branch in Abu Dhabi. Socially-driven businesses and entrepreneurs can apply for the certificate at: https://maan.gov.ae/maan-social-certificate/.

Incentives offered by the Scheme

The social certificate enables social enterprises to boost the credibility of their brand to the public and private sectors in Abu Dhabi and the UAE at large. The recognition validates that the certified enterprises align their business activities with the social priorities of Abu Dhabi, and contributes to improving their sustainability and profitability. Furthermore, it helps promote social entrepreneurship across the emirate through encouraging the growth and development of new socially-driven organisations.

The certified social enterprises can obtain Abu Dhabi’ branding recognition stamp and enjoy a host of direct and indirect incentives such as exclusive access to mentors and coaches, funding and networking opportunities, golden visa endorsement, as well as access to a learning management system and public procurement platforms. The socially certified businesses will also receive subsidies on their commercial licensing fees.

27 social enterprises join the scheme during soft launch phase

During the soft launch phase that ran from March to July 2022, Ma’an received applications from 45 enterprises to be socially certified. Of this, 27 entities have successfully received their certificates, while 13 entities are currently reviewing and updating their applications.

These enterprises are serving multiple social priorities including health, education, social inclusion, environment, and family cohesion. They also serve community groups such as people of determination, youth, students, senior citizens and the overall community of Abu Dhabi.

For his part, His Excellency Faisal Alhmoudi, Executive Director of Incubation and Social Contracting at Ma’an, said: “The scheme significantly contributes to creating a social procurement mindset across government and private entities in the emirate and encourages the growth of the third sector through the establishment of new social enterprises.”

Ma’an adheres to stringent governance systems and procedures adopted by Abu Dhabi Government across its initiatives and programmes to drive the growth of third sector in Abu Dhabi. These procedures are followed by the specialised committees reviewing applications for Social Certificate made up of Ma’an and its key partners. The companies obtaining the Social Certificate must submit an annual report on the social impact of their programmes and initiatives to continue to benefit from the direct and indirect incentives offered by the Social Certificate.

About Ma’an

Founded in February 2019 by the Department of Community Development Abu Dhabi, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an drives social innovation and builds a culture of social contribution and participation to address social priorities in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Ma’an brings together the government, private sector and civil society with the objective of supporting innovative solutions and contributing to the development of strong, active, collaborative and inclusive communities.

The Authority has launched several pioneering programmes through its five pillars of work – Social Impact Bonds, Social Incubator and Accelerator programme, Social Investment Fund, Community Engagement and Outreach Management to deliver solutions and make life-changing differences for Abu Dhabi residents. To this end, Ma’an provides resources and support to seed and grow community-based organisations, raise and allocate funds towards community-based organisations and social initiatives, and promote community engagement and a culture of volunteering. Ma’an is a ‘Ghadan 21’ accelerator programme initiative, supporting Abu Dhabi to become one of the best places in the world to invest, live, work and visit.