The UAE sustained decades of economic growth to emerge as an international hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. At the heart of this progress is a vibrant SME sector, which now accounts for 95 per cent of all businesses in the UAE and contributes 53 per cent of non-oil GDP.
This share is expected to increase to 60 per cent in 2021 and rise even higher. This success is the result of an enabling environment for small businesses established by the UAE government. According to the Zbooni 2021 UAE SME Survey, 89.3 per cent of SMEs say the UAE is a great place for establishing a company. The study by the social commerce platform also shows 91 per cent of SMEs in the UAE expect to grow in 2021.
Undoubtedly, SMEs are a crucial growth engine for the future as the UAE aspires to build a resilient knowledge-based post-oil economy. With this in mind, the government continues to put in place measures to ensure continued success for small businesses. The UAE recently announced the ‘Entrepreneurial Nation’ initiative to assist entrepreneurs set up in the UAE, expand their businesses, export their products and tap into online sales.
Part of this initiative is a Dh1 billion ($272 million) private equity fund for lending to SMEs over five years, announced by UAE’s Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Ahmad Al Falasi.
Digitizing operations for SMEs is crucial to ensure continued growth. Digital technologies automate manual operations, making processes faster and more efficient while freeing personnel for more productive tasks instead of administrative and routine back-office work. It also provides advanced channels of communication such as video and modern collaboration tools.
A whitepaper released by the Ministry of Economy reveals that 76 per cent of SMEs that have pursued digitalization had attracted new customers, 65 per cent found that it generated cost savings, and 50 per cent found that it had opened new markets. In the simplest of terms, if your business isn’t using digital technology, then your competitors will. And they’ll get ahead because of it.
Need to exploit
That said, many UAE SMEs are yet to exploit digital transformation to its fullest, held back by limited financial and technical resources. Support by the tech ecosystem is therefore crucial, and Huawei is stepping up. The ‘Huawei Cloud Oasis Program’ launched earlier this year will see us invest $15 million in the Middle East.
The investment will be deployed over the next three years and will benefit more than 100 SMEs in developing their cloud capabilities. The programme is just the latest initiative by Huawei. We have been a trusted partner for the UAE for more than 20 years, playing a vital role in developing UAE’s digital infrastructure.
In full support
We are fully committed to helping UAE achieve its digital ambitions, enhance resilience, and contribute to economic prosperity. Looking towards the future, Huawei will continue innovating and building a tech ecosystem to help the UAE and the Middle East region digitize faster.
Huawei’s 5G, cloud, and AI support industries effectively embrace digital transformation, and we will keep innovating our cloud and AI solutions to create enduring value for local enterprises, especially SMEs.
We believe in the power of innovation and collaboration to create shared value. Through our own business activities or by working with partners, we help address societal needs and challenges related to economic growth, employment, upgrading industries, and supporting SMEs and industry ecosystems. We also help advance industry ecosystems through open collaboration and innovation while incubating local ICT industries and digital economies.