Bodour announces Dhs10m 'Onshor' initiative to support publishing industry - GulfToday

Bodour announces Dhs10m 'Onshor' initiative to support publishing industry


Sheikha Bodour along with other dignitaries during a special ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Emirates Publishing Association. WAM

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the Founder and Honorary President of the Emirates Publishing Association (EPA), has introduced the Sharjah Publishing Sustainability Fund (Onshor / Publish).

This initiative, developed by EPA and Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in cooperation with the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPC Free Zone), is a Dhs10-million fund designed to provide a holistic support system for the publishing industry. The fund includes financial backing, specialised knowledge, business acceleration opportunities, and aims to foster innovation within the sector.

This announcement was made during a special ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of the EPA and its renowned efforts to advance the publishing sector in the UAE.

The event was graced by numerous publishers and representatives from prominent cultural organisations, recognising and appreciating its outstanding partners in the knowledge industry.

In her speech during the ceremony, Sheikha Bodour said, "This evening, we gather not just to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the EPA but also to commemorate the extraordinary path of perseverance that began from humble beginnings with a defined vision and boundless ambition. This journey started with a small group of publishers united by grand dreams, aspirations and expectations."

"The onset was undeniably challenging, yet as the saying goes, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Despite the initial hurdles, our inspiring journey was filled with experiences, transformations, and obstacles that tested our resolve.”

"As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of EPA’s establishment, we are fully aware that our mission is far from over and that we are entering a new phase of expansion and prosperity. This requires more concerted efforts to be able to write a new chapter of growth and excellence in the next 15 years to come. On this occasion, I am delighted to announce a new initiative that seeks to support Emirati publishers, the ‘Sharjah Publishing Sustainability Fund’ (Onshor / Publish), a strategic initiative that will contribute greatly to supporting publishers and developing the publishing industry in the UAE,” she added.

The Founder of the EPA urged all publishers in the UAE to intensify their efforts in advancing the Emirati book industry. She encouraged them to embrace innovation in their business strategies and to broaden their collaborations with publishing professionals globally to enhance the industry's growth and evolution.

Ahmed Al Ameri, CEO of the SBA, underscored that the focus on culture, particularly the knowledge industry, is inspired by the distinctive vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. This vision has set a global standard for knowledge-driven development through books, leading to notable achievements. HE remarked that the Sharjah Publishing Sustainability Fund (Onshor / Publish) conveys a powerful message that Sharjah is a reliable custodian of the publishing sector, where books remain the voice, companion, and supporter of individuals on their journey towards progress.

Al Ameri highlighted that the fund addresses critical requirements of the publishing industry, particularly the necessity for adaptation, resilience and agility, noting that endeavours tailored to meet these needs are always likely to succeed. Drawing on Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi’s experience in the publishing sector, he stated, "Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi ventured into the publishing realm recognising a pressing demand for high-quality Arabic literature. She perceived this need not merely as routine but as fundamental to shaping a generation's understanding of their heritage and traditions. Her commitment led to substantial and enduring changes in the publishing landscape, with these transformative strides continuing to this day.”

The SBA CEO unveiled that the fund’s strategic goals seek to further develop the publishing industry through embracing and supporting new publishers, and those who have visionary ideas that add value to the publishing sector in the UAE.

He stressed that this objective could be realised through three fundamental pillars. The first pillar, the growth stage, aims to enhance the capacities of existing publishers by offering a tailored business acceleration programme and providing financial support to their enterprises.

The second pillar focuses on fostering innovation by promoting creativity and supporting innovative ventures in publishing technology.

The third pillar, the start programme, is dedicated to assisting emerging publishers through a business incubator, offering guidance, resources, and community backing that contribute value and create tangible impacts in both the Emirati and global publishing sectors.

Abdullah Al Kaabi, President of the EPA, expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Ruler of Sharjah, for his continued support for the publishing industry.

He also thanked Sheikha Bodour for firmly supporting the publishing sector and publishers, which contributed to the development of the industry in the UAE. He noted that their ongoing care and support of the EPA’s journey is the key factor in the successes it achieved throughout a decade and a half, and it will remain the core of its achievements in the future.

"What has been achieved throughout our journey indicates what can be achieved when visions are united and efforts are combined. We have many successes to be proud of, but we still have many future goals that we must work to achieve. As we look forward to the coming years and decades, the renewed commitment to cooperation, integration, and teamwork is our road map towards a bright future in which the UAE will be a robust hub for Arab publishing, and in which Emirati publishers will contribute to the sustainability of publishing and culture at the global level,” added Abdullah Al Kaabi.

During the ceremony, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi also honoured the partners who have contributed to EPA’s success, including the Sharjah Book Authority; the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone; UAE Media Council; Ministry of Culture and Youth; Emirates Writers Union; Emirates Libraries and Information Association; Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre; as well as Emirates Library and Information Centre. Additionally, recognition was extended to the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), the Ministry of Community Development, and the Emirates Intellectual Property Association for their support through the years.


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