The Etisalat Small and Medium Business Awards 2018 offer entrepreneurs the chance to celebrate their success and be recognised for their achievements. Nominate your company today or before November 15. Image Credit: Supplied

Small businesses are playing an increasingly vital role in the UAE’s economy. According to a July Gulf News report, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute 47 per cent of Dubai’s GDP. The study, published by Dubai SME and Dubai Statistics Centre, also highlights that small and medium businesses (SMBs) employ 52.4 per cent of the emirate’s workforce. In Abu Dhabi, SMBs comprise well over 90 per cent of companies registered in the emirate. A year ago, a Sharjah-based venture capital (VC) firm announced plans to launch a VC unit focused on strategic direct investments for start-ups, with half of the $150 million (Dh551 million) earmarked for companies in the Middle East and North Africa.

While it’s clear that governments, policymakers and economists are well-aware of their importance, how does that help the SMB on the ground? Suppliers need to be paid, orders need to be fulfilled, growth targets achieved and – most importantly – customers need to be satisfied. Small business owners and their employees have to put in a sizeable amount of work, and it’s time we recognised them for it. That’s what the Etisalat Small and Medium Business Awards 2018 aims to do.

Etisalat is inviting nominations for entrepreneurs to garner vital exposure for their businesses across seven categories: SMB of the Year, Young Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Start-up of the Year, Digital Transformation, Positive Social Impact and Technology Disruption.

7 Award Categories

The SMB of the Year Award will go to an enterprise that has witnessed immense growth over the past 12 months. The winner will have made an impact within their industry.

The Young Entrepreneur Award is eligible for company founders under the age of 28 with demonstrable major business achievements.

The Innovation Award will be awarded to those who have managed to make product differentiation a key pillar of their business growth strategy.

Businesses that have made an impact at an early stage may be eligible to be named Start-up of the Year.

Tech-savvy entrepreneurs who were able to redefine their business processes via digital means could win the Digital Transformation Award.

A company whose work has benefited society in a distinctive manner could pick up the coveted Positive Social Impact Award.

Finally, the Technology Disruption Award will go to the company that shook up its industry by bringing in revolutionary tech.


With the exception of the Young Entrepreneur and Start-up of the Year awards, all businesses must have 10-250 employees and a turnover between Dh3 million and Dh250 million. Young Entrepreneur candidates must be under 28 years old (an Emirates ID or passport copy will be required as proof) and Start-up of the Year contenders can have a maximum employee count of 20 and turnover of Dh10 million or less.

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