The long road ahead for SMEs and the Dubai Expo

November 27, 2013 12:31 pm

As the UAE gears up for the Expo 2020 results, sectors across the country wait in anticipation for the announcement that could amend their long-term plans. Dubai winning the bid to host the World Expo 2020 can mean an influx of business opportunities for several sectors, including small and medium enterprises.

By Sidra Tariq, Editor of

The SME sector has been a considerable force in driving the economy forward. It contributes more than 40 per cent of Dubai’s GDP and employs more than 42 per cent of the workforce, and will continue to play a major role as the Emirate attempts to achieve its 2020 goals.

A successful bid is expected to attract 25 million visitors to the UAE by 2020. “For SMEs across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there will be a surge of consumer spending, as visitors, tourists and investors flock to the region and bolster the local economy, and will enhance wealth for business owners,” says John Bailey, financial planner at Acuma Independent Financial Advice. “As a result, if we see the confirmation of the expo, it is likely that we will also see an increase in the number of new businesses and entrepreneurs looking to benefit from the influx.”

At the same time, the challenge to stay ahead of competition will be even greater, with local, regional and even international companies vying to tap into the consumer pool. A number of SMEs have already started planning ahead to leverage the potential win. Eton Institute, a language training and professional development center, is distributing one million Emirati dialect Arabic phrasebooks with the Expo 2020 emblem and has launched an Emirati phrase app.

“People can see how important the Arabic language is and will be as a result of such a strong bid by Dubai to host the Expo 2020. Dubai is being showcased for its business opportunities, tourist attractions and a place to prosper professionally and personally. That is why Eton Institute is giving the UAE’s expat community a chance to start learning Arabic…to prep for their successful future in the country,” said Mahina Bukhari Shah, marketing manager at the institute.

The Expo 2020 is also expected to generate more 277,000 jobs should Dubai win the bid. This would also intensify the race for SMEs to retain and attract top talent.

This article was first published on TRENDS