Small business owners are confident the remainder of 2018 will be a period of strong growth, revealed a new survey.
More than 60 per cent are confident of achieving as much as 20 per cent growth compared to their performance last year, according to a new conducted by Meed.
For 13 per cent of the respondents, an even more robust growth of over 50 per cent is expected by the end of the year. The remaining survey participants indicated business prospects are likely to increase anywhere from 20-40 per cent.
"The results of the survey show a promising outlook not just for the SME sector but for the entire UAE economy. Small businesses comprise a majority of registered business in the Emirates and contribute a substantial 40 per cent to the country's GDP. The strong growth prospects of SMEs over the coming year and their increasing confidence and optimism should augur well for the business community in general and for aspiring entrepreneurs in particular," said Dr Karim El Solh, co-founder and CEO of Gulf Capital, an alternative asset management firms.
When asked how they hope to achieve their growth targets, 28 per cent said they will be increasing their investments on sales and marketing initiatives, while 21 per cent will focus their efforts on product development and innovation. Around 11 per cent of the respondents, meanwhile, will be looking at enhancing strategic partnerships to help them grow their business.
Close to half of the respondents, at 47 per cent, also found the business environment in the UAE to be nurturing of SMEs. However, 37 per cent of the polled business owners mentioned that securing bank financing for small businesses is still a big challenge and proving to be a burden for their operations.
"The UAE has done well globally and is ranked 21st among all nations in terms of ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank report. The government has established many initiatives to encourage the growth of the entrepreneurial sector and is constantly introducing many innovations to help SMEs thrive and grow.
"Opening a new license, for instance, can be done easily online and within minutes, provided all the necessary documents are prepared. The private sector has also launched many programmes to support start-ups through various incubation programmes and providing alternative investment opportunities," said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, the agency of the Dubai Department of Economic Development mandated to develop the SME sector.
By Waheed Abbas
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