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Dubai SME Expands Role In Driving SME Growth With Over AED233 Million Worth Of Support In 2023

The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Dubai SME), a subsidiary of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), expanded its role as a key driver of the emirate’s small and medium enterprise (SME) sector’s growth, withthe total value of its incentives and services reaching AED233.4 million in 2023.

Dubai SME achieved significant milestones in 2023, reflecting its commitment to contributing to the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with the aim of doubling Dubai’s economy by 2033 and consolidating its position among the world’s top three cities for business and tourism.

According to Dubai SME’s annual report, the organisation facilitated the establishment of 2,937 new businesses in 2023 and provided vital support and guidance services to 1,186 Emirati entrepreneurs.The report also revealed that the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for SME, a key initiative of Dubai SME, provided AED 11.8 million worth of funding to 16 projects, highlighting its pivotal role in supporting entrepreneurial initiatives.Furthermore, 46 Emirati entrepreneurs with start-ups in the technology sector received support from the Business Incubation Department services at Hamdan Innovation Incubator (HI2). Technology projects play a key role in fostering innovation, boosting productivity and contributing to competitiveness, economic growth and the creation of new job opportunities. Moreover, around 100 businesses benefited from Dubai SME’s entrepreneurship promotion services in 2023.

His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said: “Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai SME strives to support entrepreneurship and the development of small and medium enterprises, which are the backbone of the emirate’s economy. Following the launch of the Dubai Economic AgendaD33, 2023 marked an exceptional year for Dubai SME, with the organisation continuing to help accelerate the goal of positioning the emirate as the most competitive environment for entrepreneurial ideas and start-ups. As revealed in our 2023 annual report, we are committed to providing financial and technical support to Emirati entrepreneurs and new businesses. As we look forward to 2024 and beyond, we are determined to identify and leverage investment opportunities to further drive growth in the SME sector.”

Key achievements from 2002 to 2023

Since its inception in 2002, Dubai SME has supported 16,443 national companies, while 50,131 entrepreneurs have benefited from its services. By 2023, thecumulative value of incentives and services provided to Emirati entrepreneurs and national companies reached AED1.5 billion.

Stand-out statistics from 2002 to 2023 also included 46,209 entrepreneur trainees benefiting from Dubai SME’s training services and diploma programmes. A total of 118 projects received financial support worth AED103.14 millionfrom the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for SME while 3,400 businesses benefited from its entrepreneurship promotion services.

Major developments and initiatives in 2023

In June 2023, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, approved the adoption of the future model of Dubai SME. Through this strategic model, which is aligned with the D33 Agenda, Dubai aims to support the establishment of 27,000 new Emirati businesses and provide growth support to 8,000 Emirati entrepreneurs, enabling them to create 86,000 new job opportunities and contributing approximately AED9 billion to the emirate’s GDP. This aligns with the ambitious targets set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to double Dubai SME’s accomplishments of the past 20 years - from 13,000 to 27,000 new businesses.

Business Incubator Network

Dubai SME adopts a diverse range of initiatives and programmes, spanning from identifying talented entrepreneurs and nurturing business ideas to providing ongoing support for businesses throughout their growth and expansion journey. The certified incubator network in Dubai, consisting of 17 accredited incubators, welcomes all innovative ideas for testing and provides the necessary resources for their development, transforming these concepts into profitable business ventures. Notably, six of these incubators operate within educational institutions, including universities and schools. This strategy aligns with the sixth pillar of Dubai’s Fifty-Year Charter, which emphasises the transformation of local and private universities into economic and creative free zones, encouraging student innovation and entrepreneurship through university-based incubator programmes. By integrating business incubators within universities, Dubai SME has introduced a transformative initiative aimed at enhancing infrastructure within educational institutions. This initiative seeks to cultivate the potential of young talents, stimulate their creativity and innovation and instill an entrepreneurial mindset from an early age. By providing essential support at the inception of their ventures, these programmes will empower students to establish their own companies and embark on successful entrepreneurial journeys.

Focus on Hatta

To enable youth in the eastern region to start projects and turn their ideas into reality, Dubai SME established a new business facilitation centre, Tasheel, at the Hatta Community Centre to support young entrepreneurs and SME owners, who can utilise smart services to issue tax-free business licences, including an IntelaqLicence via the Invest in Dubai platform. The centre also offers multi-use halls and a meeting room that serves as a hub for entrepreneurs.

Dubai SME also organised workshops and certified professional diplomas in entrepreneurship for the commercial and agricultural sectors, due to their economic importance in the Hatta region. More than 100 Emirati participants managing more than 50 projects attended the workshops. With a focus on training young potential entrepreneurs in Hatta, Dubai SME organises courses and specialisedprogrammes, providing valuable advice, guidance and information. This included organising 19 workshops attended by more than 400 participants, as well as two specialisedprogrammes and numerous training courses targeting entrepreneurs, focusing on creative thinking in entrepreneurship, innovation-based management and e-commerce. The aim is to develop the skills of trainees and refine their skills.

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