The Stone Age came to an end not for a lack of stones and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil." – Ahmed Zaki Yamani
The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development is funding small and medium businesses and has lent out over 1 billion dirhams to about 600 projects so far. Their idea is to foster an entrepreneurship culture within the UAE by identifying and encouraging citizens that are serious about starting a business and providing them with the necessary tools and funding. One interesting example is that Khalifa has funded artisans, mainly women, to design travel pouches for Etihad airlines.
Right now the economy is 70% resource (oil) based and 30% knowledge based. The Abu Dhabi Education Council is trying to flip this ratio. They've partners with top universities such as NYU and INSEAD to bring campuses to Abu Dhabi. In addition, only 20% of university graduates are in the STEM fields, but much more human capital in technology will be needed to support a knowledge-based economy.
One of the emerging sectors is renewable energy. The UAE is investing in renewable energy to diversify the energy supply, reduce carbon emissions, and create jobs. Renewables can also reduce water consumption for power generation by 19%. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will actually have its new headquarters in Masdar City (pictured above).