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UAE SMEs set to register robust growth
By a staff reporter June 04, 2018
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DUBAI: Small business owners are confident the remainder of 2018 will be a period of strong growth. A new MEED survey of 75 of the UAE’s top SMEs conducted recently shows more than 60% are confident of achieving as much as 20% growth compared to their performance last year.

For 13% of the respondents, an even more robust growth of over 50% is expected by the end of the year. The remaining survey participants indicated business prospects are likely to increase anywhere from 20-40%.

The survey was conducted by MEED, organisers of the Gulf Capital SME Awards, to gain insights from business owners ahead of the launch of this year’s edition, the awards aim to celebrate the success and growth of SMEs and business leaders in the UAE.

“The results of the survey show a promising outlook not just for the SME sector but for the entire UAE economy. Small businesses comprise a majority of registered business in the Emirates and contribute a substantial 40% to the country’s GDP. The strong growth prospects of SMEs over the coming year and their increasing confidence and optimism should augur well for the business community in general and for aspiring entrepreneurs in particular,” said Dr Karim El Solh, co-founder and CEO of Gulf Capital, one of the largest alternative asset management firms in the Middle East and the headline sponsor of the awards.

When asked how they hope to achieve their growth targets, 28% said they will be increasing their investments on sales and marketing initiatives, while 21% will focus their efforts on product development and innovation. Around 11% of the respondents, meanwhile, will be looking at enhancing strategic partnerships to help them grow their business.

Close to half of the respondents, at 47%, also found the business environment in the UAE to be nurturing of SMEs. However, 37% of the polled business owners mentioned that securing bank financing for small businesses is still a big challenge and proving to be a burden for their operations.

“The UAE has done well globally and is ranked 21st among all nations in terms of ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank report.

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