According to the Ministry of Economy, the SME sector represents more than 94 percent of the total number of companies operating in the country and provides jobs for more than 86 percent of the private sector’s workforce. In Dubai alone, SMEs make up nearly 95 percent of all companies, employing 42 percent of the workforce and contributing around 40 percent to Dubai’s GDP. Thus, the UAE Government has taken up the goal to enhance the contribution and performance of the SME sector. Dubai SME is playing a major role in establishing initiatives and programs to help with sources for funding SMEs. In this article, we shall discuss the services provided by the Dubai SME to the business community. Continue reading…

SME Definition

Dubai SME’s support for SMEs is in line with Dubai’s Economic Development Plan wherein the near term focus is on implementing improvements in the soft infrastructure (government regulations, budgetary reforms, and other sector-specific reforms). Thus, a number of Dubai SME’s initiatives are focused on enhancing the overall business environment in order to make it more conducive for SMEs in Dubai to thrive and grow. The three main services offered by Dubai SME are:

  1. Support for startup business
  2. Growth of ongoing business


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  • Support for startup business

Starting up your own business is an important leap in your career and personal life. It requires planning, in-depth knowledge of the market, motivation, and a passion for your product or service. So, Dubai SME provides the following services to startup companies:

  • Business development and advisory services – Dubai SME aim to be your start-up development partner, and their business advisors are ready and willing to guide you at every step of the way. You can talk to them in confidence as you take advantage of their experience in helping over 12,000 Dubai-based entrepreneurs since 2002.
  • Intelaq program“Intelaq” is a one-of-a-kind program launched in the UAE to assist Emiratis residing in Dubai to take their first step into the world of entrepreneurship. The program aims to provide aspiring business owners with company start-up support through all its phases.
  • Entrepreneurs support servicesThe entrepreneur relations (ER) team serves entrepreneurs by accelerating business start-up through a variety of services such as guidance on type of business, mode and category of business licensing, reducing business start-up costs, and accessing reduced rate location real space.
  • Funding criteriaOne of the establishment’s key objectives is to help address the challenges of the funding gap for small and medium enterprises and make capital available to them on a per-need basis. The criteria for considering projects for financial support take into account, the commitment of the entrepreneur, financial parameters, uniqueness of business idea and model, entrepreneurial sensitivity to the challenges of start-up and Growth, business risk and quality of the business plan.
  • Dubai Entrepreneurship AcademyIn addition to assessing your personal readiness to launch your very own brand and company, Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy at Dubai SME will also help you identify opportunities in the marketplace, evaluate risks and develop business plans.

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  • Growth of ongoing business

Dubai SME offers a number of services and opportunities to ongoing businesses. The business development facilities offered by the company are as follows:

  • Business promotion – The opportunities to participate in exhibitions and events at competitive prices to sell, promote, and display products and services are offered by Dubai SME. 
  • Government procurement programThis program helps to qualify entrepreneurs to meet the needs and requirements of government, semi-government, and private sector companies. 
  • Rating system for SMEThis system provides a comprehensive view of enterprise performance with financial and non-financial evaluation criteria. It is the first rating system launched by Dubai to give ratings to the SMEs.
  • Financing solutions by the fundThe financing solutions are provided by the Dubai SME through LPO finance, Loan expansion, asset financing, and term financing.
  • Fund services provided by strategic partnersBusiness entrepreneurs can get high-value credit loans with the bank guarantee from banking partners through the credit bank scheme. Moreover, through the crowdfunding mechanism, group and individual financing solutions are provided with the economic interest rate which is in addition to the guaranteed value of the funded product. 

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Overall, the government is adopting a holistic approach to promote entrepreneurship and the growth of the SME sector in Dubai. A comprehensive range of programs and initiatives have been implemented to enhance specific aspects of the SME sector such as export orientation, skill development, and regulatory environment, amongst others. However, certain gaps exist in the ecosystem and require a cohesive approach to be followed by the government and the private sector to enhance the overall support ecosystem as well as to address specific aspects of the SMEs’ business operations. Some of these steps could be to promote innovation, enhance IT adoption, and increase focus on Human Capital Development, amongst others.