Dubai SME Supports More Than 23,000 Entrepreneurs Since Inception

Press release
Published June 12th, 2017 - 06:25 GMT
His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy.
His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy.

Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, has made remarkable strides in achieving the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to promote entrepreneurship among the youth. More than 23,000 Emirati entrepreneurs have received business consultancy services from Dubai SME since its inception and the agency has also supported the launch of over 4,000 projects.

Dubai SME has also been successful in securing nearly AED 3.3 billion worth of contracts to its members under the Government Procurement Programme (GPP) so far.  Meanwhile, more than 4,000 enterprises benefited from Dubai SME’s incentive packages Emirati entrepreneurs and the net value of such support has exceeded AED 290 million.

Established by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum under the umbrella of Dubai Economy in 2002, Dubai SME has enabled a number of Emirati youth to evolve into entrepreneurs and pursue innovations in commercial and industrial projects, thereby strengthening the private sector and promoting economic development in the UAE.

His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, thanked HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his trust in Dubai SME as the government authority responsible for entrepreneurship development as well as his directives to develop a generation of successful entrepreneurs, including women. Dubai SME has enabled young entrepreneurs in the country to progress through local and regional markets to the global stage, Al Qamzi said.

“We are keen to develop the young talent in the UAE into a distinguished generation that will position the country in the forefront of the global economy. Our aim is to provide an attractive environment for entrepreneurs to translate their creativity into successful projects that support national economic development. To that end we develop programmes and policies that can stimulate SMEs to adopt innovative business models and be productive, thus contributing towards achieving a competitive, knowledge-based economy as foreseen in the UAE Vision 2021,” added Al Qamzi.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, expressed his pride in the agency achieving competitiveness and sustainability as a business facilitator in the government sector. “SMEs form the backbone of the economy in Dubai. The Dubai SME policy is aligned to the strategic focus of the leadership and government in the emirate on building a competitive and diversified economy.”

Al Janahi added that Dubai SME has established strategic partnerships and initiatives to support SME innovation and growth. “We have more than 45 service providers as our partners. In addition to enabling our members to win over AED 3.3 billion in government contracts, the Hamdan Innovation Incubator in Dubai SME has supported 515 projects, including financing 50 successful projects.” The Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2) aims to make Dubai the entrepreneurship capital and innovation hub of the region. Hi2 helps entrepreneurs launch projects in diverse sectors and supports them in early stage development.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF), the financial arm of Dubai SME, has meanwhile enhanced financing options for innovative entrepreneurs. The AED600 million has had 56 start-ups securing more than AED 48 million in start-up and growth financing so far.

Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy has also been established under the umbrella of Dubai SME with the primary goal of developing the business skills and leadership of Emirati entrepreneurs. The Academy offers courses accredited by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to help aspiring and existing entrepreneurs hone their skills in business management and development. Nearly 7,000 trainees have graduated from the Academy so far.

The Government Procurement Programme in Dubai offers SMEs the opportunity to develop their business by supplying the needs of the Government of Dubai. One of the most important SME support initiatives in Dubai, the programme provides a valuable opportunity for SMEs to win government contracts, continually enhance capacities and emerge as major contributors to the national economy.

According to Article (12) of Law No. (16) of 2016 all entities owned by the Government of Dubai, or in which the Government of Dubai has ownership of more than 25%, are obliged to exempting Emirati entrepreneurs from any registration fees for being a preferred supplier and also give priority to bids submitted by Dubai SME members if the bid value does not exceed 5% than the best bid submitted. Such companies should also allocate 10% of their purchases to UAE nationals and 5% of the rental spaces for outlets owned by Dubai SME members provided they fulfill the eligibility criteria. 

Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai SME launched the Dubai SME100 programme in 2011 to rank SMEs based on a set of financial and non-financial performance indicators. The initiative helps SMEs identify and address capability gaps, and grow into global enterprises.

Earlier this year, Dubai SME also launched the SME RATE Framework, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region to comprehensively rate SME performance. The initiative is instrumental to the UAE Vision 2021 goal of building a diversified and sustainable economy and also aligns with the Dubai Plan 2021 goal of increasing the SME share in the emirate's GDP. It is estimated that some 40,000 new SMEs will be created over the next five years and together SMEs are expected to generate a value-add of more than AED 65 billion and add approximately 370,000 new jobs to Dubai by 2021.

In 2003, Dubai SME launched the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders (YBL) under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to reward outstanding entrepreneurs in the UAE. The brightest entrepreneurs in the country are honoured with the prestigious award for their contributions to the local community and their industry sectors. More than 114 UAE and Arab entrepreneurs and over 84 SME support entities in the Arab world have won the award while thousands of entrepreneurs have benefited by way of training and skill-building initiatives that are part of the programme.

Dubai SME also pioneered a Young Entrepreneur Competition (YEC) to promote the spirit of enterprise and leadership among the UAE's school and university students. The competition launched in 2004 aims to encourage students to express their entrepreneurial ideas and creativity. More than 11,000 students have been part of YEC and the competition has attracted over 4,000 projects so far.

Background Information

Department of Economic Development

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the government body entrusted to set and drive the economic agenda of the emirate of Dubai, UAE. The DED supports the structural transformation of Dubai into a diversified, innovative service-based economy that aims to improve the business environment and accelerate productivity growth.

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