Dubai SME launches incubator to help British companies expand locally

The initiative, rolled out in association with the British Centres for Business, will support projects in new and emerging sectors

Dubai attracted Dh12 billion in foreign direct investment during the first half of 2020, according to a new report from Dubai Economy. Reem Mohammed/The National
Powered by automated translation

Dubai SME, the government body tasked with the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, is opening a new business incubator to help British companies expand their operations in the emirate.

The initiative, developed in cooperation with the British Centres for Business (BCB), will strengthen Dubai’s image as a destination for investment and entrepreneurship regionally as well as globally, Dubai SME, which is a part of Dubai Economy, said in a statement on Sunday.

The incubator aims to support British companies operating in “new and emerging sectors”, such as information technology, e-commerce, digital economy, digital marketing, smart applications and logistics.

"We are pleased to add BCB to our accredited incubators and business accelerators and eventually bring them into the Dubai Business Incubator Network (DBIN),” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, chief executive of Dubai SME.

“The BCB incubator will add significantly to the achievements of other accredited incubators in Dubai in addition to strengthening the partnership between innovative British companies and our local start-ups,” he added.

Dubai SME, through its Hamdan Innovation Incubator, has an accreditation programme for incubators and business accelerators.

So far, Dubai SME has been able to add seven specialist  business incubators to the DBIN in different sectors - digital technology and robotics, design, sustainability in energy, water, building materials, transportation and waste treatment.

“We are confident that the next stage will witness varied entrepreneurial initiatives across multiple sectors … in addition to new investment opportunities in the local market,” Mr Al Janahi said.

Dubai has been an attractive investment destination for many UK firms.

The emirate has attracted Dh12 billion in foreign direct investment during the first half of 2020, according to the Dubai Investment Development Agency. The UK contributed 8 per cent of this investment.

Founded in Dubai in 2013, the BCB is a business-to-business professional services company set up to provide operational support and market entry services to UK companies in the Middle East.

“We have been working closely with Dubai Economy … helping more than 45 companies become established in Dubai and generating more than Dh400 million in trade with the UK,” Joe Hepworth, BCB’s chief executive, said.

“We are delighted to become a formal part of the Dubai SME incubator scheme as the next step in the BCB’s development in Dubai,” Mr Hepworth said.

As well as technology companies, the BCB incubator covers various sectors including energy, retail, financial services, healthcare, education and food and beverages.

As part of the agreement with Dubai SME, it will organise training sessions on business development and promote networking as well as knowledge sharing between its members, experts and Emirati start-ups. It will also support emerging projects to build partnerships and expand.