| 28 November 2022, Monday |

UAE’s finance ministry and Dubai SME sign agreement to support small businesses

The UAE’s Ministry of Finance is teaming up with Dubai SME, a Dubai Department of Economic Development agency, to support entrepreneurs and small and medium sized-enterprises in the country.

The ministry has signed a preliminary agreement with Dubai SME – the government body tasked with the development of the SME sector in the emirate – to register smaller business in the Federal Supplier Register. This will allow them to participate in government tenders, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The Ministry of Finance is keen to “support and empower entrepreneurs and pave the way for SMEs to contribute to the national economy”, Mariam Al Amiri, undersecretary for the Financial Management Sector at the MoF said. The ministry has devised policies and procedures to “stimulate the economy and support the business sector in the country”, she said.

The SME sector in the UAE accounted for about 94 per cent of total companies and employed more than 86 per cent of the private sector workforce at the end of 2019, according to Ministry of Economy data. In Dubai, SMEs accounted for 95 per cent of companies, employed 42 per cent of the workforce and contributed 40 per cent of the emirate’s gross domestic product.

Supporting the SME sector is among the top priorities at both federal and emirate levels. Dubai has rolled out several initiatives last year to soften the impact of the pandemic on small businesses. The federal government has also ensured access to financing for smaller enterprises.

Etihad Credit Insurance extended Dh420 million ($114.3m) worth of trade credit to SMEs in the first 11 months of 2020 to help companies protect liquidity amid the pandemic-driven slowdown. In March, ECI also teamed up with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development to shore up the export capabilities of small businesses.

Dubai SME said it will encourage companies to secure federal accreditation and will exchange SME owners’ data with the ministry to ensure effective communication with them.

“SMEs play a vital role in the national economy’s sustainable development … [and] we are committed to enhancing the capabilities of these enterprises and enabling them to be among the fundamental components in various sectors [of the economy],” Saeed Al Marri, deputy chief executive of Dubai SME, said.