Insights Report

Editor’s Note

The small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector has never been more important to the region’s economic health. To put it into perspective, there are some 350,000 SMEs in the UAE alone, representing more than 94 per cent of all active companies in the nation. Collectively, they employ some 86 per cent of the private sector labour force and comprise over 60 per cent of total GDP.

There has therefore never been a more critical time for the development, promotion and support of the SME community. Reflecting this, the government has introduced several initiatives to help nurture the sector. These include the creation of the National SME Programme to develop general frameworks and guidelines; the establishment of the UAE SME Council to create strategic plans and policies for the sector; and the launch of Operation 300bn, under which Emirates Development Bank will contribute to financing 13,500 SMEs.

In this context, the launch issue of this special report analyses the prospects for the SME sector and offers insights into the challenges and opportunities companies may face.

Key topics covered include the increasing role digitalisation and digital payments can play in unlocking opportunities for SMEs, the role of the regulatory and policy ecosystem in promoting the sector, and how it can help them support and meet its sustainability and net-zero targets. It concludes by
examining the sales and acquisition process for SMEs and how they can best position themselves when preparing their exit strategies.

With inputs and insights from key players such as Dubai SME, Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), DP World and Masdar, we hope that this report will be an invaluable reference point and knowledge bank for all stakeholders by providing unique, actionable intelligence to help them grow and reach their full potential.

Complementing the report, MEED is hosting the 11th edition of its SME Awards in November 2022, where we will recognise and celebrate the achievements of SMEs across a range of market sectors and segments.

Case studies from the winners on how they achieved success will be highlighted in future reports as we look forward to further growth in this increasingly important sector.

Edward James
Head of content & research, MEA



SME Insights Special Report 2022

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