- The plan includes training programs to empower entrepreneurs; new channels to connect with global and regional markets; and extensive participations in specialized exhibitions
The National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises of the Ministry of Economy, the executive arm of the UAE SME Council, announced its plan to support and stimulate the country’s SME sector and promote entrepreneurship during the year 2020.
The details of the strategic plan were announced during a press conference held by the Ministry in the Customer Happiness Center at its headquarters in Dubai. It encompasses specialized training programs and courses for entrepreneurs, establishment of the link with European Business Network, hosting of the SME Forum, participation in leading exhibitions, and recognitions for SMEs and innovation at regional and global levels, among many other programs and services for the sector.
Dr. Adib Al Afifi, Director of the National Program of Small and Medium Enterprises, said during the press conference that entrepreneurship and SME sector continues to be an important area of focus for the wise leadership, owing to its pivotal role in the development of the national economy and enhancing its diversity, sustainability and competitiveness. In addition, the sector also contributes to promoting innovation and knowledge in the economic activities and in the country’s business sector.
Al Afifi said that the Ministry of Economy’s National Program for SMEs has succeeded in creating an attractive environment for entrepreneurs over the past years by providing incentives and facilities and by launching initiatives that enable them to successfully enter the market. The program has also successfully enhanced their ability to increase their market shares and obtain investment opportunities.
“The plan for 2020 includes a set of programs, initiatives and activities that are aimed at empowering Emirati entrepreneurs and encouraging SMEs and creating awareness on best practices and the latest trends in entrepreneurship development. It will also enhance administrative and commercial capabilities and innovative practices of private sector companies by providing them with many effective tools needed to achieve commercial success and business continuity. Furthermore, it will help them expand their operations in various vital fields, in addition to connecting them with new regional and global markets,” he added.
Al Afifi continued: “The number of Emirati SMEs that were activated through the National Program for SMEs portal included 2,000 entrepreneurs in 2019 compared to 1,500 in 2018. This marks an increase of 33 per cent, and the number is expected to touch 5,000 by the end of 2020.”
He further emphasized that the new plan will focus prominently on specialized training programs designed to help entrepreneurs develop their projects and enhance leadership capabilities, innovation and technical competencies, which will lead to improved performances of their businesses. This will in turn enhance their income, involvement and competitiveness in the market. The plan envisions 50 training courses to be organized for more than 3,000 Emirati entrepreneurs across the seven Emirates, as well as an expanded program to train trainers in the field of SMEs.
Furthermore, Al Afifi explained that the program will work towards connecting entrepreneurs registered in the National Program for SMEs with members of the European Business Network, which has 11,000 companies. This will facilitate the exchange of information and experiences; help organize joint events; and will promote the discussion of opportunities to establish new business partnerships.
Al Afifi added that the National Program members will participate in the SMEs Forum 2020 that will be held on the sidelines of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), The forum will serve as an ideal platform to connect them with global companies that are investing and looking for commercial and investment opportunities in the UAE’s markets; to exchange knowledge; and to learn about innovative practices operating and developing start-ups and SMEs.