Gulf Capital SME Awards has revealed finalists of its 2014 edition, with businesses in the service and technology sectors emerging as the strongest contenders for the awards in various categories. Other business sectors represented include trading, retail, construction, communication, finance and education.
The awards are organised by MEED, which partnered with Gulf Capital three years ago as the headline sponsor, to launch the programme.
This year’s finalists reported a combined turnover of AED1.6bn and an average growth rate of 134% last year, indicating another robust performance from the SME sector in the UAE. With more than 90% of total businesses in the UAE belonging to the small and medium-sized category, growth indications not only mean increased business activity and greater contribution to the UAE’s GDP; but also potentially thousands of additional employment opportunities.
“This is the strongest performance we have seen from technology-focused and service-oriented SMEs in the three-year history of the awards, and is a great indication that the UAE is proving to be a vibrant breeding ground for nurturing small businesses and entrepreneurs in these sectors,” said Becky Crayman, Head of Awards, MEED.
The finalists in the Gulf Capital Business of the Year category are CommIT, German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai, Intelligent Business Technologies LLC (IBT), SweetBeam, DABO & Co, Skipper t&d JLT and The Box Self Storage Service.
“The growth in the number of entrants this year – an increase of 6% compared to the previous edition shows the award programme’s steadily growing reputation as a highly sought after recognition scheme for SMEs. This year’s finalists’ have shown remarkable progress, as evidenced by their strong turnover performance. Beyond the numbers, what makes this year’s batch impressive is the strong emphasis on innovation as a key foundation for achieving long-term growth; as well as their determined effort to efficiently manage their resources to support growth plans. We wish the finalists the best of luck; and congratulate them for having gone this far in the selection process,” said Dr. Karim El-Solh, Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Capital, one of the leading alternative investment firms in the Middle East and headline sponsor of the annual Gulf Capital SME Awards.
The Emirati Business of the Year category received an overwhelming number of entrants; boosted no doubt by the government’s broadening support for nationals. This year’s finalists, one more than last year’s, include Ajyaal Media FZ LLC, Al Wegdaniyah Transport Solutions, Cafe2Go, Centre for Musical Arts, Corporate Business Services, DGT LLC and Wrapt LLC. Meanwhile, shortlisted SMEs in the MasterCard Small Business of the Year category include CommIT, Intelligent Business Technologies LLC (IBT), Hit the Deals, DABO & Co, Elevision Media, Senses Salon and The Box Self Storage Service LLC.
Among start-up businesses, Ace Marine Construction Contracting LLC, Star Global LLC, Mini Exchange, The Camel Factory and The Talent Enterprise emerged as finalists in the RSA Start-up Business of the Year category. Web-based SMEs such as Doctoruna, MaidCV.com, Mini Exchange, My Ex Wardrobe, Supermart.ae and XpertLearning have been shortlisted for the Online Business of the Year award. MEED’s annual SME awards programme also honour impressive performance in key operational aspects such as innovation, customer service, employee-oriented initiatives, organisational culture and sustainability practices.
In the Business Innovation of the Year category, Aptus Telecom, Doctoruna, German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai, Mini Exchange, SweetBeam, Innovative HR Solutions, Q2 General Cleaning Services and BizX Trading emerged as this year’s finalists. SMEs which showed successful customer-driven initiatives will be recognised with the Customer Focus of the Year awards, and those shortlisted in this category include Fame Lifestyle, Fun Science Recreational Services, PROTRAINING, Senses Salon, The Box Self Storage Service LLC, German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai LLC, Workz Media FZ LLC and Nahar Building Materials.
Finalists in the DHL People and Culture of the Year category, which will recognise the SME which has created a positive working environment and invested in developing its people, include Centre for Musical Arts, DABO & Co., German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai LLC, Innovative HR Solutions, RedFilo Events, SweetBeam and Summertown Interiors. SMEs with proven sustainability practices that made it to the shortlist of the Sustainable Business of the Year category include Centre for Musical Arts, Dubai Desert Extreme (DDE), German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai LLC, My Ex Wardrobe, Q2 General Cleaning Services LLC, Queen B and Summertown Interiors.
The Gulf Capital SME Awards also recognise outstanding individual entrepreneurs and business leaders. And this year, the Entrepreneur of the Year category recorded the biggest jump in terms of number of finalists with 10, an increase of four compared to the previous year. The finalists include Aly Rahimtoola, Managing Partner, Herbline Essentials; Camilla & Lucy D’Abo, Managing Partners, DABO & Co.; Dr. Sassan Dieter Khatib-Shahidi, CEO, German Imaging Technologies(GIT) Dubai LLC; Heidar Djoyaeian, Managing Founder, Supermart.ae; Ibrahim bin Shaheen, CEO, DGT LLC; Jai Mulani, CEO, Intelligent Business Technologies LLC (IBT); Patricia O’Sullivan, Founder, PROTRAINING; Shahriar Khodjasteh, CEO, Dubai Desert Extreme (DDE); Shailesh Dash, CEO, Al Masah Capital; and Wadih Haddad, CEO, The Box Self Storage Service LLC. Dr. Khatib-Shahidi, Bin Shaheen, Mulani, Khodjasteh, Dash, and Haddad have also been shortlisted in the Business Leader of the Year category, along with Sanjay Bansal, CEO, Intex Technologies.
The 79 finalists across the 11 categories of the Gulf Capital SME Awards will next go through a face to face judging session, where they will make a presentation on their businesses before the awards panel of judges. Winners will then be announced on October 29, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton, JBR, Dubai.
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