DUBAI, 11th July, 2020 (WAM) — Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy, mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise, SME, sector and entrepreneurship continued to expand and diversify its advisory and support programmes in 2019 with an added emphasis on enhancing SME competitiveness and strengthening Dubai as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The past year saw 3,871 Emirati entrepreneurs benefit from the start-up advisory services of Dubai SME, with nearly AED 170 million of exemptions and incentives to launch and grow businesses in diverse sectors.
Overall, local entrepreneurs received over AED630 million worth of incentives and support from Dubai SME since its inception in 2002. The total number of Emirati entrepreneurs supported to date by Dubai SME also increased to 38,565 by the end of 2019.
Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, stated that 2019 was a challenging but remarkably successful year for Dubai SME in its efforts to align with the diverse SME capabilities and entrepreneurial talent available locally with the ambitious growth strategies in Dubai as well as the UAE, and the vision of the leadership to make the country an innovation-driven, knowledge-based economy.
“The year, in general, has been exciting for Emirati entrepreneurs considering the regional and global economic challenges, especially since it witnessed the launch of various initiatives by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, and economic incentives to support SMEs,” Al Janahi said.
“Universities in Dubai are being transformed into economic and creative free zones to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, in line with the 50 Year Charter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He has also unveiled a Future Lab for Entrepreneurship,” Al Janahi said, also citing the success of the Hamdan Innovation Incubator, Hi2, in Dubai SME and the accreditation programme for Business Incubators and Accelerators in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship as a culture.
Hi2 has supported 651 start-ups to date, including 68 in 2019 alone and the past year also saw four new business incubators and accelerators being accredited in Dubai, including the first accredited incubator for students at the GEMS Modern Academy. The number of accredited incubators in Dubai now stands at six, and Hi2 is also working on developing a network of incubators to support innovative enterprise, particularly in the fields of design and technologies relating to sustainability.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Fund, the financial arm of Dubai SME provided financing to 75 SMEs in 2019. To date, 172 projects have received financing products worth over AED80 million from the Fund, 64 percent of which was facilitated through Beehive, the fintech partner of the Fund. Start-up subsidies were also given to 1,470 Emirati SMEs in 2019, bringing the total number of SMEs that have benefited from exemptions and incentives to 7,590.
The value of contracts facilitated by Dubai SME to its registered and qualified members as part of the Government Procurement Programme, GPP, exceeded AED973 million in 2019. Since its inception, Dubai SME has facilitated AED5.67 billion worth of contracts for its members under GPP, from government, semi-government and private entities.
Meanwhile, Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy, the educational arm of Dubai SME, also had a full schedule in 2019, training 6,862 entrepreneurs. The Academy offers training in diverse disciplines of business start-up, management, and development, and has so far trained 21,775 entrepreneurs.