With 25 million visitors set to descend upon Dubai after the Emirate’s successful World Expo 2020 bid, SMEs can look forward to a bright future, experts agree as a new event opens tomorrow aimed at helping small businesses prosper.
Contributing to more than 40% of Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the UAE Ministry of Economics, the SME sector plays a considerable role in driving the economy forward. With an anticipated surge in consumer spending, as visitors, tourists and investors flock into the Emirate, wealth for SME business owners is expected to grow significantly.
However, with only half of the registered SMEs in the GCC currently able to gain additional funding to support their developing businesses, challenges clearly still remain.
The SME Congress & Expo, taking place from 16-18 December 2013 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, will look at the challenges and solutions facing Middle East SMEs, providing an important learning platform to help entrepreneurs and SMEs in the region successfully launch, grow and finance their businesses.
Souad Mohamed Al Hosani, President of Nexus Business Services and Nexus Agencies, who is speaking at the three-day conference, believes that not only will the tourism, hospitality and real estate sectors benefit from Dubai’s successful Expo 2020 bid, but there will also be a chain reaction in the long term for all SMEs.
“Winning the Expo 2020 is a massive honour for the UAE and the whole Arab world,” said Hosani. “This historical event will have a huge impact on all business sectors, especially SMEs.”
“Following the economic crisis, the Expo 2020 is the perfect boost for SMEs, enabling them to expand and be more creative and innovative, to gain and enhance their business. They have a vital role to play in ensuring that Dubai Expo 2020 is a resounding success.
As SMEs and entrepreneurs across the UAE look to take advantage of this opportunity by starting, growing and diversifying their businesses, the challenge to stay ahead of competition is fiercer than ever.
With local, regional and even international companies vying to tap into the consumer pool, Tobias Bessone, General Manager of Wavetec UAE, believes SMEs will have to up their game, if they want to secure investment.
“Winning the World Expo 2020 will raise the quality of standards amongst SMEs as even more international players will enter the market, increasing the competition amongst businesses,” said Besonne, another speaker at the SME Congress & Expo. “This in turn will push SMEs to improve their products and services and ensure they establish themselves in the international business arena.”
Organisers of the Dubai World Expo 2020 have predicted that the showpiece event will contribute an increase of €28.8 billion to Dubai’s GDP and €17.7 billion in added value to its economy. As a result, more than 280,000 new jobs will be created, as well as an increase in the number of new businesses and entrepreneurs looking to benefit from the influx.
Abdulmuttalib Al Hashimi, Managing Director of Next Level, UAE, who is speaking on Day 2 of the SME Congress & Expo, thinks this economic growth will boost business confidence in the market, allowing for increased demands on services and goods.
“I see Dubai becoming a large hub for SMEs in the country and the region, and an incubation center for local and international entrepreneurs,” said Hashimi. “For SMEs to make any impact they will need to be empowered by the government. Empowerment can come in the form of legislation to help SMEs conduct their business with ease, availability of funding, opportunity to bid and compete for contracts and many other forms.”
The SME Congress & Expo aims to showcase the Mid East SMEs potential at every level. A highlight this year of the three-day event is the Pitch for Investment competition, a unique platform where a shortlist of 10 entrepreneurs and business people will present their ideas and current businesses to a panel of experts in the hope of winning prizes and investments.
Organised by Informa Exhibitions, the SME Congress & Expo is held in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department for Economic Development, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and Dubai Internet City.
The powerful new platform takes place with the support of Strategic ICT Partner Etisalat, an organisation at the forefront of developing and delivering relevant innovative services and solutions to the small and medium segment in UAE for many years, enabling businesses to begin operations and grow their existing setup in the UAE as well as connecting them internationally.
The Official Carrier for the SME Congress & Expo is Etihad Airways, while Event Partners include Nexus and the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Sky News Arabia is Official News Broadcaster and Bayt.com Strategic Career Partner.
The exhibition, training workshops and Pitch for Investment competition are free to attend and open from 11am – 7pm.
Monday, December 16- 2013 @ 7:55 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.