Big hoardings near World Trade Centre supporting Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020. A successful bid for Dubai is expected to attract foreign investment, companies, and human capital to the emirate. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) are prepared to get into high gear if Dubai is successful in its bid for Expo 2020.

Navin M. Valrani, chief executive of Leminar, an SME, said that €4.5 billion (Dh22.4 billion) earmarked for Expo 2020 infrastructure investment coupled with private sector initiatives would be a tremendous boost for Dubai.

Leminar is a Dubai-based air conditioning firm providing services to the construction sector.

A successful bid for Dubai — with the winner to be announced in November 2013 — is expected to attract foreign investment, companies, and human capital to the emirate.

Valrani said he is not fazed by the idea of more companies entering Dubai following a successful bid.

“The beauty of Dubai is that it has always been a competitive environment. It is an entrepreneur’s dream city,” he said.

However, Valrani said there would be challenges for smaller companies entering the market on the back of Expo 2020 because “it’s not always easy to get start-ups up and running.”

“I think the more established SMEs will take good piece of the cake...[but] there will be enough business for everyone,” he said.

Camilla d’Abo, Managing Partner at Dubai-based communication agency Dabo & Co, said hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai would be a fantastic opportunity.

“We are perfectly situated to be able to help many global cities and countries that would be coming to Expo 2020,” she said.

The emergence of new competitors in the market in the lead up to the event would be a significant boost for Dubai and UAE, d’Abo said.

She said that competitiveness among companies in the UAE was already increasing year-on-year.

It is not a threat, she said speaking about more companies operating in the UAE, and it benefits the market because it increases the level of professionalism.

“The more businesses setting up here ultimately mean more benefits for the economy,” she said.

Hazel Cowling, Partner & Consultant Director at management consultancy SME biz-group, agrees with D’abo. “Sophisticated training and events companies coming into the market...raises the bar for clients and gets them...recognising our industry,” she said.

S. Raghavan, CEO at Emitac, a healthcare SME, said that the Expo would attract more expatriates and tourists to the UAE leading to a demand in healthcare facilities. He said this would generate a “great opportunity” for the healthcare sector.

The economic injection generated by Expo would be a significant boost to SMEs who have already established themselves in the local and regional market.

The business and growth opportunities are going to be big, Raghavan said, this could mean that in the lead up to Expo, companies like ourself might not come under the SME category and become one of the bigger companies in the market, Raghavan said.

Cowling said a successful Expo 2020 bid would help put Dubai and UAE-based companies on the map exposing them to international players.

Dubai is bidding for the event against Turkey’s Izmir, Russia’s Yekaterinburg, and Brazil’s Sao Paulo.