Seminar on small businesses to be held at Dubai 2003

DUBAI - A special seminar will be held on September 20 entitled: "Microenterprise and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development - A Partnership-Based Strategy."

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 25 Aug 2003, 12:22 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 7:52 PM

The session, which is a part of the official programme of seminars that precede the annual meetings of the boards of governors of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), will focus on government and private sector roles in developing the SME sector..

The significance of the SME sector in promoting long-term sustainable economic growth is especially important in the Middle East region where a majority of businesses are within the SME realm. Therefore, setting up support mechanisms and encouraging the young entrepreneurial spirit helps increase employment opportunities and diversifies economies to be able to better absorb internal and external economic shocks.

"The UAE is at the forefront of regional economies supporting the SME sector, with many government supported and private sector run initiatives and programmes," said Ahmed Al Banna, assistant general coordinator for Dubai 2003 and deputy director-general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"This policy runs in tandem with World Bank international strategies in this domain, and we look forward to the insight the seminar will provide."

The UAE government has put into place schemes and programmes to help small and medium enterprise to develop and grow. Such schemes will go a long way in creating critical mass within the sector and provide much needed support and capital to entrepreneurs looking to establish their own companies.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders, a programme hosted under the Dubai Development & Investment Authority (DDIA), was formed with a vision to nurture the domestic entrepreneurial spirit in Dubai and catalyse the development of the SME sector. A component of the programme is a five per cent government procurement programme that mandates that all government departments complete at least five per cent of their procurement activities through the establishment. Access to a Dh700 million fund is also available as well as loans at preferential terms via a network of affiliated banks.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders aims to enable SMEs - through access to required business services - to effectively manage and grow. These include a centre where entrepreneurs can locate new business, access to business mentors and advisory services, and to cost effective business services.

Another Dh100 million SME focused programme called Al Tomooh (meaning ambition), co-funded by Shaikh Mohammed and Emirates Bank International, has more than 40 successful startups to its credit. Al Tomooh is a financial scheme designed to support small businesses whose total required investment cost does not exceed Dh2 million.

The programme was initiated by Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, chairman of Emirates Bank International, and is supported by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Dubai Department of Economic Development.

"We have also invested resources in our human capital requirements to drive the SME sector forward. Our university system graduates over 3,000 nationals a year, and with our government sector coming to saturation, we have made alternatives available for the young to integrate into," said Al Banna. Constant training and broadening our skills as an economy is a must if we are to remain competitive on a global scale."

In Abu Dhabi, SME support is being extended to UAE nationals in the form of practical job training. The "Work Passport Programme" provides participants with hands-on skill courses and training workshops in a broad range of business activities. Such skills will be transferred to the private sector and the SME sector as more trainees pass through the programme.

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