Create a culture for entrepreneurship, says UAE Minister

With its three advanced programs – Skill-Up, Start-Up, and Scale-Up – the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative aims to train 15,000 entrepreneurs and support 8,000 startups to go global over the next decade - Supplied
With its three advanced programs – Skill-Up, Start-Up, and Scale-Up – the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative aims to train 15,000 entrepreneurs and support 8,000 startups to go global over the next decade - Supplied

The SME economy is set to soar in 2022, and governments are responsible for playing perhaps the most crucial role in ensuring success for entrepreneurs and small business owners



by

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 8:04 PM

Having a culture that not only welcomes, but encourages entrepreneurship, is going to be a key factor in the success story of the UAE, says Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Speaking in a fireside chat at the Step 2022 conference in DIC on Wednesday morning, he highlighted how the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative will drive growth in the UAE’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, with the end target of the UAE being home to 20 unicorns by 2031.

Launched last year, the initiative offers support to entrepreneurs through a series of public-private partnerships that will help them set up their business in the UAE. With its three advanced programs – Skill-Up, Start-Up, and Scale-Up – the initiative aims to train 15,000 entrepreneurs and support 8,000 startups to go global over the next decade.

Al Falasi explained that SMEs form the backbone of economies, and that the UAE was no different. As of mid-2020, there were over 350,000 SMEs in the UAE – this is over 94 per cent of all companies. In addition, they employed more than 86 per cent of the private sector’s labor force, and accounted for over 60 per cent of GDP.

Speaking about the importance of having SME friendly regulations and policy, Al Falasi said: “The UAE has firmly established itself as a global center for entrepreneurship; we have gone to great lengths to make sure entrepreneurs have everything they need to succeed, launching a host of ambitious initiatives and strategies to create an innovation and entrepreneurship-friendly environment.”

Looking back, he highlighted how a lot of progress has already been made in this regard, with the UAE decriminalizing bounced cheques and also lowering interest rates for startups. Looking ahead, he noted that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the UAE builds on its success story of not only attracting, but also training young talent to be entrepreneurs.

“The SME economy is set to soar in 2022, and, as governments, we are responsible for playing perhaps the most crucial role in ensuring success for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our intention going forward is to listen to everyone and tackle issues to the best of our ability. Our goal is very simple, we want the UAE to continue to be a place for entrepreneurs,” he said.

rohma@khaleejtimes.com


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