Small, medium firms play large role
23 Aug 2020
The UAE's small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is of vital importance as the nation moves towards becoming a hub for enterprise ventures and among the best entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world, said Mubarak Al Ameri, executive director of the Outreach Management Department at the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.
As of last year, the Ministry of Economy estimated that the SME sector represents more than 98 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the UAE and contributes towards 52 per cent of non-oil GDP - a figure the ministry wants to increase to 60 per cent by 2021.
"The further our SME sector advances, the more our economy continues to diversify, and the closer we come to achieving Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and the UAE National Agenda's Vision 2021," Al Ameri added.
Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under-secretary of the Ministry of Finance, recently said the government supported the sectors most affected by Covid with economic stimulus plans totalling Dh282.5 billion to date, thereby protecting entrepreneurs and SMEs.
"In relation to the ever-evolving digital transformation of business, I believe the accessibility of technology and digital applications were pivotal during the last few months which enabled most innovative entrepreneurs to become resilient during this crisis. This helped bringing industry leaders to the forefront of the sector, and thus help the overall performance of it," said Al Ameri.
"The adoption of digital technologies for business are becoming ever-present and undeniable. Even prior to Covid-19, e-commerce had been growing exponentially for years. The pandemic has now provided a testing ground for even more e-commerce, and pushed consumers to use it, who were once reluctant to do so. As we look forward to a post-Covid-19 time, it's inevitable that its implications will remain, and therefore creating even more new business opportunities within e-commerce, e-learning, e-meetings, and streaming services, amongst much more."
The SME sector was extended every assistance during Covid-19 outbreak and many entities have extended their sops until the end of the year.
Muhammad Chbib, chief executive officer of Tradeling, said: "One of the biggest issues facing SMEs in this region is access to capital. Banks need to be more supportive, especially now, to ensure easy access to capital at affordable prices."
Facebook announces grant for UAE SMEs
Meanwhile cash flow has proved to be a major concern in UAE SMEs' road to recovery, a joint survey from Facebook, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said. And in order to support these firms, Facebook has announced a grant of $544,609 for eligible SMEs in Dubai.
The grant is made up of cash and Facebook ad credits and is part of its pledge in March earlier this year where it announced a $100 million grant programme to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries.
"Despite showing an incredible amount of resilience and creativity during the pandemic, small businesses still face major challenges. For many, cash flow is among their biggest difficulties. Direct financial support can make a difference in helping many of them pay their employees and keep their doors open for business," said Ramez Shehadi, managing director of Facebook Mena.
Facebook, the World Bank and the OECD published the Wave II update of the Global State of Small Business Report. Businesses can go facebook.com/grantsforbusiness to see whether they are eligible
Source: Khaleej Times