Dubai launches $136m plan to help SMEs grow internationally

Initiative, open to all small and medium businesses in the emirate, will focus on 'strategic sectors' of the economy

SMEs account for more than 60 per cent of job opportunities in Dubai. AFP
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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, has rolled out a Dh500 million ($136 million) initiative to help Dubai-based small and medium size enterprises expand in regional and global markets.

The Dubai International Growth Initiative, launched by the government of Dubai in partnership with Emirates NBD will boost efforts of Dubai SMEs seeking to set up an international presence, the Dubai Government Media Office said on Sunday.

The initiative is one of several steps the emirate has taken to support businesses and “serves as a strategic commitment to the future development of Dubai's economy”, the media office wrote on social media.

“Aligned with the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to double the size of the economy, the Dubai International Growth Initiative will support the global expansion of SMEs founded in Dubai,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

Dubai, the commercial, financial and tourism hub of the Middle East, has a leading role in the global economy, and SMEs are pivotal in maintaining the emirate’s position as an international hub for business and trade, he said.

“The consistent and robust support for entrepreneurs, investors and SMEs reflects Dubai's business-friendly environment, making it an attractive destination for both local and global investments,” Sheikh Hamdan added.

SMEs account for more than 90 per cent of registered businesses in the UAE, as well as most job opportunities in the country. Several initiatives have been launched in the past few years, at both the federal and emirate level, to support the growth of SMEs and boost their contribution to the national economy.

Dubai's latest initiative is open to all SMEs founded in the emirate, irrespective of the owner's nationality, and will be focused on “strategic sectors” of the economy.

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest lender by market value, will provide financing to eligible companies at competitive rates, charging only the Emirates’ Interbank Offered Rate (Eibor) with no additional margin.

The lender will announce further details of the financing programme next month, the media office said.

The consistent and robust support for entrepreneurs, investors and SMEs reflects Dubai's business-friendly environment, making it an attractive destination for both local and global investments
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai

A joint steering committee will be established, comprising representatives from the government of Dubai and Emirates NBD, responsible for guiding the initiative, selecting eligible SMEs, overseeing the implementation and ensuring its success in meeting the emirate's strategic objectives, it added.

“Facilitating the sustainable global expansion of SMEs is a priority for the government in line with the D33 Agenda,” said Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

“These businesses play a pivotal role in the emirate, employing over 60 per cent of the workforce.”

Dubai has maintained growth momentum since bouncing back from the pandemic-driven slowdown.

Dubai’s economy expanded by an annual 3.3 per cent in the first nine months of last year, driven by growth in the emirate's tourism and transportation sectors, the latest government data shows.

Sectors including transport, trade, financial services, accommodation and food services, property, information and communication, and manufacturing drove the emirate's economic growth in the nine-month period to the end of September last year.

Updated: January 28, 2024, 3:13 PM