Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development entrusted with the promotion of the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector in Dubai, has released three comprehensive industry studies on sector-specific SME landscape in Dubai, identifying existing gaps and opportunities in terms of investment and policy reforms.
The first-of-its-kind study on three of the most vibrant sectors of Dubai’s economy with a vast SME dimension and potential will help investors, entrepreneurs, financial houses and policy-makers to refine their focus and make intelligent choices.
Transport and Storage; Food and Beverage Manufacturing and Media industries are the three sectors evaluated as part of the study, undertaken with consultants from Dun & Bradstreet Middle East & South Asia in the latter half of 2010.
The three sectors were chosen in view of the large SME base and opportunities for new business as well as potential for productivity, innovation, and value addition to Dubai economy.
Dubai SME hosted three workshops at the Business Village, Dubai on the 9th, 10th and 11th of May 2011 to share the findings of the study with the various stakeholders in SME development.
The study found that the Transport and Storage industry in which Dubai is an acknowledged regional leader, still has substantial room for improvements in terms of reforms and overall efficiency. In the 2010 Logistics Performance Index, the UAE was ranked 24th among 155 countries but its sub-rankings in quality, productivity, technology, delivery time and access calls for further expertise and investment.
Research, development and integration of advanced logistics technology and skill enhancement programmes on supply chain operations will enable SMEs to escalate their offering from basic operations in Transport and Storage to critical supplies, the study said.
The study also proposed policy reforms to facilitate intra-GCC goods movement and better co-ordination between the government and the industry to enhance the regulatory environment.
Underlining Dubai’s advantages and status as the Arab media hub, the study said SMEs present a strong platform for Dubai to build on its advantages and face rising regional competition.
Building talent and knowledge of intellectual property rights (IRP), promoting entrepreneurial opportunities through seed capital and funding, competitive broadband costs and SME involvement in creative development and state-of-the-art digital delivery channels such as mobile-based applications are among the focus areas in the Media industry proposed by the study.
Food security concerns in the GCC and the need for developing capabilities in manufacturing, processing and storage of food present abundant potential for SMEs in this sector, according to the study. Leveraging existing retail networks to market SME-manufactured products as well as policy reforms to promote their exports would make SME investment in this sector viable.
Commenting on the study, His Excellency Abdul Basit Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME, said: “Understanding the competitive landscape, operating environment, risk-reward structures, international orientation, and overall growth prospects will help investors, funding agencies and policy-makers adopt the right SME approach. Ultimately, any sound investment and policy has sustainability as the end goal.”
Al Janahi added: “Identifying and evaluating SME prospects and opportunities is part of our remit to enable realistic SME growth in Dubai. The strategic plan of Dubai SME stresses on an industry-specific perspective, as firms grow in the context of their respective industry.”