The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has kickstarted the SME Champion programme to help small and medium-sized enterprises, of which 73 per cent are in the retail and wholesale sectors.
The programme is aimed at aiding SMEs secure procurement opportunities from big private and public sector companies. It will also provide tailored training and mentorship programmes to SMEs and start-ups to equip them with essential skills to compete in procurement pitches, according to the department.
Meanwhile, the e-commerce sector is also expected to get a boost, with e-commerce sales in the UAE growing by an average of 23 per cent per annum between 2018 and 2022. In 2020, the value of UAE retail e-commerce market hit record $3.9 billion in 2020, according to the Government of Dubai Media Office.
As such, ADDED had launched an incubater programme last year, which was focused on developing innovations in e-commerce apart from other fintechs. The aim of this programme was to aid e-commerce retailers in research and developmental solutions.
Meanwhile, ADDED is also helping small e-commerce retailers with a ‘Tajer’ e-commerce licence allows expatriates to start their own online business, and even waives of fees and the requirement for a physical office space.
The licence includes over 1,000 activities ranging from selling perfumes, clothes, furniture and other products.
Director general of economic affairs at Added, Sameh Al Qubaisi, said this move can empower these companies to level up their businesses and play a greater role in Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning economy, alongside complementing other initiatives designed to emphasise the importance of SMEs.
“To this end, we champion SMEs and start-ups as drivers of a vibrant, private sector-led economy,” Mr Al Qubaisi added.
In Abu Dhabi alone, the sector accounts for more than 90 per cent of businesses and 39 per cent of the workforce, contributing to 32 per cent of non-oil GDP, as noted by the executive director of the SME sector at Added, Mouza Al Nasri.
Ms Al Nasri added: “As part of our efforts to ensure continuous improvement, we have studied the main factors to support SMEs and enhance their role. The Abu Dhabi SME Champion is part of our efforts to provide a suitable environment for SMEs to enhance their role in the diversification strategy by increasing non-oil GDP and creating jobs.”