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Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are an integral part of the UAE economy. According to the latest figures, SMEs make up 94 per cent of the companies operating in the country and contribute more than 50 per cent to its GDP.

“One of the great things about the UAE is you have a lot of nationalities and a lot of income brackets,” explains Nicholas Watson, Co-founder and CEO of Udrive, a car-sharing and rental service. “For an entrepreneur, this is amazing because, effectively, you can build a product that is aligned with a certain audience, or you can try and build a product that will cross boundaries. One of the benefits of creating a company here is the access to different markets.”

In order to take advantage of the market conditions and contribute towards building the UAE economy, SMEs too require cash injections and support from a reliable and understanding banking partner. To help companies launch and grow, RAKBANK Business has developed The Sail to Success campaign, which offers guidance to a host of solutions, from straightforward collateral-free business loans or finances up to Dh3 million, to term and working capital finance and asset-based finance of up to Dh35 million, all at highly competitive rates and flexible payment options.

“I think RAKBANK wanting to be the number one SME bank is very attractive to entrepreneurs trying to build the number one product for their customer audience,” says Watson.

For Mamo Pay, a home-grown fintech and financial services platform, the invaluable support they received from RAKBANK’s Sail to Success campaign have helped the company become what it is today.

“I think for a start-up, having partnerships is really important,” says Asim Janjua, co-founder of Mamo Pay. “Particularly in the FinTech space, having a banking partner like RAKBANK accelerated Mamo Pay's growth at that time. RAKBANK believed in our vision and showed trust at the time when it wasn’t something that a lot of banks were willing to do.”

Since its launch in 2020, Mamo Pay has achieved more than 20,000 downloads and a transaction value that has grown to $6 million (Dh22.03 million) last year. Its next step is to launch in Saudi Arabia in 2023.

By utilising the support and resources available within RAKBANK’s Sail to Success initiative, Watson too has ambitious plans for Udrive. “The future of Udrive is to be in every city in every country of the Middle East and North Africa and provide mobility solutions that meet every human's needs of moving from point A to B,” says Watson.

Whatever aspirations the owner of an SME has, it all starts with a simple bank account. With zero balance accounts, free accounting packages and business insurance, RAKBANK’s Sail to Success framework makes it as easy as possible for start-ups to grow and flourish. Thanks to a choice of conventional and Islamic financing, business owners have various ways to increase liquidity and they can easily find the best product that fits their business structure. For more established businesses, perks, including select free services and a dedicated relationship manager, enable a smooth daily operation.

“Business can be like an open sea with a strong wind,” says Watson. “Without a sail, your ship can’t move forward.”

With the support of RAKBANK’s Sail to Success Business campaign – like many entrepreneurs have learned – it is possible for the day-to-day running of businesses to be smooth sailing all the way.