Dubai SME and aswaaq launch new retail franchise to support entrepreneurs

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Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, and ‘aswaaq,’ have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which entrepreneurs registered with Dubai SME will be allowed to operate franchised retail outlets under the brand name ‘aswaaq mart.’

The initiative is part of the shared commitment of both Dubai SME and aswaaq to promoting entrepreneurship and providing investment opportunities for entrepreneurs in the UAE, thus enabling them to contribute to the development of the national economy. Saeed Matar Al Marri, Deputy CEO of Dubai SME, and Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Board Member of aswaaq, signed the agreement in the presence of a number of officials from both sides.

As part of the agreement, Dubai SME will provide aswaaq with detailed information on any registered member who wishes to operate an ‘aswaaq mart’ franchisee, and aswaaq in turn will accord preferential treatment to eligible Dubai SME members seeking its procurement contracts. Dubai SME members brought in as franchisees will be trained by aswaaq and will receive a manual on the conditions governing the franchise, store operations and management. The manual will also serve as a record of the daily performance of the store.

The franchisee will be entitled to source products and services from authorised suppliers of aswaaq at preferential rates and also be part of the special promotions launched by the franchiser as well as their loyalty programmes, email marketing and social media campaigns.

The aswaaq team will assist the franchisee in hiring and training as well as in issues relating to payroll and bank accounts. All internal processes and operational procedures of the franchisee will be monitored by aswaaq and every franchisee will be bound by common standards and providers in managing information technology and organisational excellence.

Commenting on the partnership, Al Marri said it’s a significant step for Dubai SME towards achieving its goal of supporting SME growth and enhancing the sector’s contribution to the national economy. “Dubai SME is committed to developing entrepreneurship and SMEs in Dubai, and strengthening the emirate’s position as entrepreneurial hub. Our development programmes and initiatives are aimed to stimulate innovative ideas of the youth and motivate them to participate in the national economy.”

Al Marri added that the MoU brings vast investment opportunities for entrepreneurs through allowing them access to an established trademark. “As a national enterprise specialised in sales and marketing, aswaaq has the knowledge and experience required to manage and operate retail outlets, has won global certifications for quality and food safety, and stands out in terms of the quality of their products and services. Dubai SME is pleased to be associated with such a prominent home-grown retail brand.”

Al Qubaisi too expressed his delight over aswaaq and Dubai SME coming together, saying that his organisation has always been keen to provide Dubai SME members with the appropriate environment to practice business and grow sustainably and competitively.“Together, we have launched the ‘Matijari’ initiative, which aims to diversify the investment opportunities for Dubai SME members and contributes to stimulating the national cadres to achieve entrepreneurial excellence and business success.”

Dubai SME offers a diverse bouquet of services to entrepreneurs, including advisory and guidance on project start-up, and connecting entrepreneurs to the appropriate service providers. New and existing projects are provided financial assistance of up to three million dirhams, and entrepreneurs are exempted from paying business license fees during the first three years. In addition, entrepreneurs are offered fully equipped office in the Business Incubation Centre of Dubai SME, varied capability development programmes, and preferential access to contracts under a Government Procurement Programme (GPP).

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