The UAE announced on Wednesday three key initiatives to provide entrepreneurs and SME-owners several integrated services aimed at enhancing their growth possibilities and market access.
These initiatives unveiled by Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, are part of the National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises and include the Government Procurement Programme, the Business Support Programme, and the Financing Solutions Programme.
At a media briefing, Al Falasi said the National Programme for SMEs has so far formed more than 25 partnerships with leading institutions in the public and private sectors, which have been contributing to the development of initiatives and services under the three programmes.
“The programmes are in line with our wise leadership’s vision, which places the citizen first, second and third in the nation’s developmental priorities. It places absolute faith on entrepreneurs, and recognises the importance of entrepreneurship as a major driver for building the future economy and achieving more flexibility, sustainability and innovation in the national economy in accordance with the principles and goals of the Projects of the 50,” said the minister.
Al Falasi said efforts to develop SMEs and support entrepreneurial projects led by Emirati youth will continue by providing them with all facilities and necessary tools to achieve commercial success, business continuity and growth.
He pointed out that SMEs represent 94 per cent of the total companies and institutions operating in the country and contribute more than 50 per cent to the country’s GDP.
Al Falasi underlined the key indicators that reflect the advanced position of the UAE in developing its entrepreneurial environment to world-leading levels. He noted that the UAE was ranked first globally in the Global Entrepreneurship Index 2022 and stood first in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report as the best destination in the world for establishing and starting businesses and having the most supportive environment for entrepreneurship.
The number of commercial licences registered for Emirati entrepreneurs increased from nearly 23,000 in 2019 to about 29,000 in 2021, with a growth rate of 26 per cent. The UAE is home to a number of fast-growing pioneering companies and Unicorns that originated from the UAE before going global such as Careem, Souq.com, Kitobi, Swvl and others.
“Through the new programs and initiatives that we are announcing today, we look forward to achieving further progress in the country’s entrepreneurship system by providing integrated services to UAE national entrepreneurs, serving their business growth and enhancing their market share.”
He added that the National Programme for SMEs is keen to consolidate its role in supporting Emirati entrepreneurs as a major platform for these business owners to avail it’s the advanced services.
Al Falasi said the new services represent a continuation and expansion of the National SME Programme’s efforts. A dedicated team within the ministry has cooperated with various partners and communicated with citizen entrepreneurs to better understand their needs and challenges, and developed a new vision which integrates the services, incentives, initiatives and partnerships in order to provide services that consider future needs and keep pace with the ambitions of entrepreneurs.
He said the Ministry of Economy has renewed its partnership with the Ministry of Finance to enable Emirati entrepreneurs to register on the Federal Procurement Platform in a more efficient and seamless manner. The programme will enable entrepreneurs to access information about procurement and contracts available with the Federal Government. The two parties will also form specific committees to look into any challenges facing Emirati entrepreneurs regarding the federal platform.
The minister said the programme at the initial stage will coordinate with the government procurement of three federal entities such as the Ministry of Education, the Emirates Foundation for Health Services, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. He noted that the goal of this stage is to put in place the appropriate processes to ensure the involvement of the federal procurement in serving the needs of citizen business owners, and thereby expand the scope of the initiative to ensure success, achieve the desired outcomes, and provide advanced services that include all ministries and target entities.