Entrepreneurial growth set to accelerate in 2019
With a steady stream of initiatives being launched to support the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector in the UAE, experts at the SME World 2019 summit said that entrepreneurial growth will continue to accelerate in the coming years.
Organised by Dubai SME and SPI Greatsands group, the summit hosted over 1,000 dignitaries including leading entrepreneurs, as well as public and private sector strategists contributing to entrepreneurship development and start-up success in the region.
Sami Al Qamzi, director general of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, underlined the growing role of entrepreneurship as an enabler of sustainable economic and social development globally in his opening keynote.
"Coming to the UAE, the National Agenda 2021 aims to see the country among the world's best in entrepreneurship. One of the themes of the Dubai Plan 2021 is to build a city of happy, creative and empowered people, which also speaks of the emphasis given to ideas and enterprise in shaping the emirate's future economy and society. The number of entrepreneurs who have benefited from the start-up, advisory and development services of Dubai SME now stands at 34,694, and we have assisted in the formation of 6,053 Emirati enterprises. The Hamdan Innovation Incubator of Dubai SME alone has helped 571 projects take off."
"In recent years we have been particularly focusing on encouraging SMEs to embrace corporate governance practices, adopt innovative technologies, and acquire specific skill sets, thereby enhancing their potential for attracting investment and growth funding," said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.
Vikas Thepar, head of Business Banking at FAB, said that 2019 would see lots of vibrancy in the entire SME ecosystem across the UAE and the entire GCC. "What we have seen is a lot of support from the government for the SME sector in the UAE; this has culminated in a lot of initiatives and programmes that are designed to make it easier to open and operate an SME in the UAE. We have also witnessed over half a billion dirhams being reserved for SME customers in Dubai. In addition, Abu Dhabi has announced a Dh50 billion stimulus to accelerate the economy. All in all, it is a very good time for SMEs in the country."
Thepar also talked about how banks are supporting the growth of SMEs by putting customers at the heart of their strategy, while simultaneously investing in technologies that are making it easier for them to open business banking accounts. "We put our customers at the heart of everything that we do, and this involves constantly listening to their feedback and creating solutions that are tailored to their needs. The top three things that we have seen to be a priority for SMEs when banking are faster transactions, access to advisory services, and a comprehensive value proposition under one roof."
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