Abu Dhabi announces new initiative to support mSMEs

The initiative aims to enhance the small and medium enterprises' contribution to the emirate’s GDP

A view of the Abu Dhabi Breakwater. According to a survey, 59 per cent of people in Abu Dhabi believe their employers will be back on their feet by the end of this year.  Victor Besa / The National 
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development is teaming up with more than 40 federal, local and semi-government entities as well as the private sector to implement a coalition project to support micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (mSMEs).

This project will focus on mSMEs operating in highly-skilled fields, particularly “science, healthcare, information technology and innovative solutions” that will be supported by mortgages from the leading banks, Added said.

The project is in line with the "Abu Dhabi government’s commitment to strengthen the role of start-ups and mSMEs in economic development by enabling them to contribute effectively to the emirate’s gross domestic product", Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of Added, said.

He said that "the success of the project depends on the extent of  interaction among  the members of the alliance and their commitment to supporting mergers and acquisitions between companies by ensuring financing, capabilities development, opening of target markets, facilitating business, and driving innovation".

The department said it is implementing this project after evaluating mSME sector’s current situation and it aims to develop tightly knit programmes by taking advantage of successful global experiences in this field.

According to the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi, as of 2018, there were a total of 54,234 mSMEs in the capital - out of which 33,760 were micro,18,945 small and 1,529 were medium enterprises.

Added also said it has identified various tools to achieve the mSME coalition project’s objectives.

The most important of these are creation of a digital platform, organisation of workshops, development of entrepreneurship programmes and preparing surveys and analytical studies, it said.

Start-ups, SMEs and big enterprises in Abu Dhabi are active in various fields, including real estate, mining, manufacturing, electricity supply, gas and power, transportation and storage, information and communications technology and financial activities.

Abu Dhabi government rolled out a stimulus programme on March 16 to boost the economy and support businesses in the emirate.

The 16-point agenda allocates Dh5 billion to subsidising water and electricity for citizens and commercial and industrial activities. It also reduces electricity connection fees for start-ups until the end of this year and exempts all commercial and industrial activities from Tawtheeq fees in 2020.

The government has also allocated Dh3bn through an SME credit guarantee scheme, dedicated Dh1bn to establish a market maker fund to stabilise stock prices and issued directives to settle all approved government payables and invoices within 15 working days.

The emirate has also waived Dh246 million in penalties – a move that will benefit about 72,200 private companies, it said.