Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME
Dubai SME, an agency under the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, today announced the launch of “Dubai SME 100”, the first-ever ranking of top-performing and fast-growing SMEs in Dubai.
The rankings aim to recognise and celebrate the SMEs that have made a difference to Dubai’s economic landscape, while also establishing clear benchmarks to enable the creation of bigger, better, sustainable and globally-oriented enterprises.
Dubai SME 100 follows the successful launch of the first official definition of SMEs in Dubai in 2009, which is defined as any Dubai-registered firm with a turnover of up to 250 milion AED and employs up to 250 staff . Based on this definition, the Dubai SME Sector comprises 95 % of the total enterprise population and employs 42 % of the Dubai workforce, and contributes 40 % of the Emirate’s value add.
The Dubai SME100 which will rank SMEs based on their performance across a set of financial and non-financial parameters, will now serve as a strong credential for enterprises to access new markets and funding for capacity building and expansion.
The launch of Dubai SME 100 is in line with the core strategy of Dubai SME to nurture promising and growing SMEs, and to make Dubai the global entrepreneurship and SME development hub. It indicates the enhanced focus of the Government of Dubai on SMEs as an enabler of long term social and economic development.
“Dubai SME 100 will objectively indicate the competitive positioning of the top SMEs and also serve as an invaluable tool to identify the capability development gaps of SMEs and address them,” Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Economic Sector Committee and Chairman & CEO of Emirates Group, said at the launch of the ranking.
The ranking also recognises the growing importance of SMEs as a driver of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic diversification as well as a major employer and supplier to key industries. The SME sector comprises 95 per cent of the enterprise population, 42 per cent of the workforce and accounts for 40 per cent of the annual gross domestic product in Dubai.
“We need to further enable the creation and development of quality enterprises that are innovative and globally-oriented. Dubai SME 100 will serve as a foundation for other SME initiatives including the possible development of a SME secondary listing and the building of an equity market dedicated to SMEs,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
“Small and medium enterprises are uniquely placed to attract much-needed private equity into our economy. In many developed economies, high performance SMEs are supported by financial markets. SMEs also have the flexibility, variety and adaptability to lead diversification like no other,” commented His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy.
Independent entities falling under the official definition of Dubai SMEs and registered in the Dubai can apply for the ranking provided they have at least three years audited financial statements.
The non-financial metrics, which sets Dubai SME 100 apart from other ratings, include innovation, international orientation, human capital development and corporate excellence. This will also help SMEs to identify capability gaps and address them.
Applications and submissions can only be done online. Eligible applications will be shortlisted and the judging panel will conduct site visits and a final interview with the CEO before announcing the ranking in October 2011. Top achievers overall and in specific categories will be honoured at a special ceremony.
Dubai SME is mobilising support from the government and private sectors, including banks and other financial institutions to optimise participation in the ranking. More than 830 eligible SMES have already been nominated by banks and other stakeholders.
“The development roadmap for SMEs is taking concrete shape with the official SME definition and now the launch of the Dubai SME 100. The ranking is a milestone for Dubai and will enable us to identify and address gaps in our SME development. It will bring tangible benefits to the economy of Dubai and the UAE,” said Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.
His Excellency Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME termed the rankings as a logical evolution in Dubai SME’s efforts over the last eight years to serve as a catalyst for developing entrepreneurship and SMEs.
“Our efforts will now gain further traction with Dubai SME 100 and encourage us to launch new and effective programmes. The 100 SMEs in the roll of honour will be able to gain recognition, increase brand equity, attract investors and earn considerable goodwill and other indirect benefits,” Al Janahi added.