Officials during the event.
Business Bureau, Gulf Today
Under the patronage of Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, and Chairman of Small and Medium Enterprises Council, the National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises (NPSME) of the Ministry of Economy will host the Small and Medium Enterprises Exhibition (SME Expo) from April 29-30 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (Adnec).
The two-day free-to-attend SME Expo will be organised in collaboration with funding programmes to support and encourage Emirati entrepreneurs, including the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Foundation ‘Ruwad’, and Saud Bin Rashid Al Mualla Programme for Supporting Youth Enterprises. The SME Expo allows UAE entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and ideas of leading industry experts and solution providers to develop their businesses and projects. The event is supported by National Bank of Fujairah, Emirates Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi Global Markets.
Announcing the event at a press conference Dr Adeeb Alafeefi, Director, of the National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises of the Ministry of Economy said: “The National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises of the Ministry of Economy, is committed to continue its efforts to support and develop this pivotal sector. The Programme aims at empowering the small and medium-sized national entrepreneurs and develop blueprints to provide expertise, technical support as well as training to boost SMEs.”
“Earlier this year, Emirates Development Bank launched Dhs100 million credit guarantee programme for SMEs in coordination with partner banks and the UAE Banks Federation. Through this scheme, they aim to boost SMEs’ business activities and pave the way for economic diversity in line with the UAE’s move towards a post-oil economy. The SME Expo represents a distinct initiative in this path, where the Ministry is keen towards providing a platform for entrepreneurs and SMEs in the UAE to communicate and share ideas, learn best practices and build partnerships that contribute to the transition of the sector’s competitiveness and growth to higher levels.”
Vince Cook, CEO, National Bank of Fujairah and headline sponsor of SME Expo said: “We are proud to be the headline sponsor of this prestigious event and to support entrepreneurs in developing innovative solutions that will achieve business growth and customer satisfaction. At NBF, we have long recognized the important role of SMEs in driving economic growth through innovation. As such, we have established a solid reputation as the financial partner for businesses in the UAE committed to supporting their growth and expansion by offering a bespoke portfolio of solutions catering to their unique challenges – whether it concerns financing, VAT reporting, operational efficiency or market intelligence.
A very recent example of this broad support is our collaboration with the Emirates Development Bank on the “Credit Guarantee Scheme” to provide much-needed funding to the segment.”
Faisal Al Bastaki, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Development Bank and platinum sponsor said: “Emirates Development Bank is a federal entity with a mandate to equip Emirati SME owners with access to finance, advance their growth, and promote economic development in the UAE. The SME industry continues to be a growth engine of the national economy and our financial products empower UAE nationals to build dynamic businesses. As a proud sponsor of the SME Expo, we look forward to engaging with our stakeholders and increase the SME contribution to the non-oil GDP in line with the UAE Vision 2021.”
Mahdi Kilani, Head of Business Banking, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and gold sponsor said: “ADIB strategy is focused on supporting SME’s by providing a broad range of tools beyond simple financing in order to enable them to scale up their businesses. Our clients now have access to the latest digital payments, collections and trade solutions designed to ease the cost of running the business as well as maximise efficiency. ADIB also enables SMEs to reach their full potential not just by providing capital and technology, but also by building strong advisory relationships to address companies’ evolving business needs and aspirations to support this vital segment of the nation’s economy.”
Martin Tidestrom, Director of Business Development from Abu Dhabi Global Markets and silver sponsors said: “As an international financial centre, ADGM plays a pivotal role for SME growth in the UAE by providing an internationally trusted legal environment, access to a supportive ecosystem of financiers and advisors, and a range of support services to help SMEs across all sectors enter the market, capitalize and grow.