UAE, Dubai 2015 | ECONOMY | COLUMN

TBY talks to Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, on SMEs.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi

What have been some of the major projects of Dubai SME since 2013?

We started 2014 with the formal launch of the Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy, an innovative center to provide existing and potential entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to become future business leaders. The Academy has already rolled out diverse programs and will continue to add sector-specific and industry-relevant programs. Dubai SME also produced a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind report on the state of the Dubai SME sector covering the size, composition, profile, and characteristics of SMEs in 2014. The report was aimed at providing a multi-dimensional overview of the SME sector in Dubai, thus helping people working in the realms of policy, human resource development, technology solutions, corporate governance strategies, banking, and financial services to evaluate and respond to prevailing trends and needs in the sector, and respond accordingly. Later in 2014, Dubai SME announced the launch of the Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2), a complete support environment to stimulate and foster innovative entrepreneurial projects among the nation's youth, under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.

How would you describe the competitive environment for SMEs in Dubai in relation to the GCC?

The Dubai SME sector, like most other economies, is extremely robust and vibrant. It contributes 40% to annual GDP and employs 42% of the Emirate's workforce. Dubai's diversified economy is based largely on the SMEs, which are serving many parts of the industry value chains whether domestically or internationally. SMEs in Dubai also enjoy a distinct geographic and demographic advantage in addition to a unique operational environment. A highly demanding population provides incentive to innovate and improvise products while ease of access to high growth markets provides an ideal business development platform.