According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, the Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector represents more than 98 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the UAE and contributes towards 52 per cent of the non-oil GDP. The ministry is targeting 60 per cent contribution of SMEs by 2021.
Essentially, these SMEs contribute to growth, innovation and job creation.
Therefore, it is highly imperative to ensure they are empowered with the right tools and support to move ahead in their journey.
UAE SMEs at a glance
SMEs in the UAE have proven to be the strategic drivers of industries across the country and are expected to play a much stronger role in the years to come.
The role of SMEs in furthering the economic growth of the nation is extensive, and the National Programme for SMEs plays a pioneering role that encompasses more than 1,700 Emirati entrepreneurs who have the passion to explore more promising opportunities across different parts of the world
The UAE government is playing a key role in its ambition to enhance their contribution and performance of the SME sector, and we have seen the government establishing various initiatives and programmes to help them grow further.
There are lots of local entities such as the Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for SME development, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, The Saud Bin Saqr Establishment for SMEs, and Ruwad – Sharjah Entrepreneurship Foundation among others.
However, the National Programme for SMEs was established under Federal Law No. 2 of 2014, which is the executive arm of the Small and Medium Projects and Enterprise Council, affiliated to the Ministry of Economy.
The National Programme for SMEs is supervised by a council chaired by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, which aims to empower small and medium-sized national entrepreneurs.
It is tasked with developing the general framework and guidelines to provide expertise, training, and technical and administrative support in various fields to promote and develop SMEs, besides conducting periodic evaluations.
Moreover, it coordinates with federal and local government bodies and the private sector to market the products of its members, both inside and outside the UAE, and to provide benefits and incentives for projects executed by its members.
There is excellent traction seen for SMEs thanks to bilateral partnerships as well.
The strength of the ties between the UAE and Italy, for instance is evident in the consolidated business partnerships by both nations and their growth and development, which can be attributed to the robust trade relations between both countries.
In fact, the total volume of non-oil trade between the UAE and Italy reached a total of $7.9 billion (Dh29 billion) in 2017.
In addition, the ongoing cooperation between the UAE and Italy as part of preparations to host the upcoming Expo2020 Dubai has been remarkable, with over 1,000 Italian businesses registering to interact with the Expo through its e-sourcing portal, with 66 per cent of these being SMEs.
Furthermore, the UAE-Italian joint venture, Cimolai Rimond is providing the steel work for the dome trellis of Al Wasl Plaza — the iconic centrepiece of the Expo site.
The country remains keen on stepping up its cooperation across areas like space exploration, alternative energy, civil aviation, transportation, financial services, food security and halal products.
1,700 Emirati entrepreneurs
The role of SMEs in furthering the economic growth of the nation is extensive, and the National Programme for SMEs plays a pioneering role that encompasses more than 1,700 Emirati entrepreneurs who have the passion to explore more promising opportunities across different parts of the world.