Dubai SME CEO Abdul Baset Al Janahi on Empowering Global Entrepreneurship

Dubai SME CEO Abdul Baset Al Janahi on Empowering Global Entrepreneurship

As Dubai cements its reputation as a premier hub for entrepreneurship and investment, considerable emphasis is placed on fostering the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector. Recognizing their crucial role in societal and economic development, SMEs are pivotal to Dubai’s economic landscape.

Driving Economic Growth Through SMEs

SMEs are the cornerstone of Dubai’s economy. The growth of this sector aligns with the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which aims to double Dubai’s economy by 2033 and position it among the top three global cities for business and leisure.

The D33 Agenda focuses on several priorities to make Dubai the fastest-growing and most attractive hub for multinational corporations (MNCs), SMEs, and local champions. It also emphasizes creating a globally competitive cost environment to facilitate business setup and operations while providing a business-friendly and sustainable ecosystem.

Public-Private Partnerships: The Backbone of Success

Dubai's success as an entrepreneurial hub is largely due to strong public-private partnerships across various sectors. These partnerships foster innovation, drive investment, and create an environment conducive to sustainable growth and prosperity. Dubai’s strategic location, connectivity, and dynamic lifestyle make it a preferred destination for entrepreneurs.

The city consistently ranks high in global indices. Dubai was named the top global destination for an unprecedented third year in a row in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024 and ranked second in Euromonitor International’s Top 100 City Destinations Index 2023. It was also recognized as the best city to relocate to and the top city for remote workers in reports by Remitly and Savills, respectively. These accolades highlight Dubai's commitment to excellence across various sectors.

Strategic Initiatives to Boost the SME Sector

Dubai aims to enhance the performance and contribution of SMEs through various strategic initiatives under the D33 Agenda. One such initiative is the development of a program to identify 400 high-potential companies and support their capacity building and global expansion.

In January, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, launched the ‘Dubai International Growth Initiative’ in partnership with Emirates National Bank of Dubai (Emirates NBD). This initiative aims to allocate Dhs500m to accelerate the expansion of Dubai-based SMEs into global markets.

The Intelak Hub, Dubai’s dedicated startup platform for travel, tourism, and aviation sectors, exemplifies the city’s commitment to innovation. Coupled with continuous enhancements to federal policies, visa initiatives like the Golden Visa for investors and entrepreneurs, and a five-year multi-entry visa, Dubai remains an attractive business destination.

The Role of Dubai SME

SMEs account for 99.2 percent of Dubai's establishments, employing 50.5 percent of the workforce, and contributing nearly 46.4 percent to the total value-added in the city. Beyond the economic impact, SMEs drive innovation and attract talent to new and emerging industry sectors, playing a crucial role in the UAE’s strategy to diversify its non-oil economy and foster sustainable growth.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Dubai SME), part of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), aims to propel Emirati entrepreneurship and SMEs by providing comprehensive support and resources. In 2023, Dubai SME supported the establishment of 2,937 new businesses, bringing the total to 16,443 businesses since 2002. The total value of incentives and services provided amounted to Dhs233.4m, according to its 2023 annual report.

Empowering Entrepreneurs

Dubai SME places a strong emphasis on integrating national talents into the entrepreneurial ecosystem, having supported 1,186 Emirati entrepreneurs in 2023, reaching 50,131 entrepreneurs to date. The launch of the Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2) in 2014 has empowered numerous businesses to flourish, leveraging innovative solutions and emerging technologies such as AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, data analytics, cloud solutions, and augmented reality.

Through the incubator, Dubai SME has supported 46 Emirati entrepreneurs with startups in the technology sector. Promoting a supportive environment for small businesses, Dubai SME offers various services, including training programs, workshops, trade licenses, funding and investment, product promotion, rating systems, government procurement programs, business development, and advisory services.

In 2022, members of Dubai SME secured contracts worth Dhs1.12bn ($305m), demonstrating Dubai’s ongoing commitment to fostering entrepreneurial growth. By promoting a culture of innovation and leadership across all sectors, Dubai continues to enhance its position as the regional capital for entrepreneurship.

Looking Ahead

Through initiatives like certified incubators, business development programs, and dedicated working spaces, Dubai SME is creating a future where Emirati entrepreneurs lead the way in driving Dubai’s economic prosperity.

News Source: Gulf Business

Maryam Pervez

Written by Maryam Pervez

Maryam is the Managing Editor at HiDubai, bringing 8+ years of expertise in marketing, social media, and content development. She holds a Master's degree in Marketing Comms from Middlesex University.
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