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Dubai’s SME sector hits new high with 550% surge

Trade and logistics emerged as the most popular sector (17%), followed by IT (13%) and food and agriculture (10%).

Dubai’s SME sector hits new high with 550% surge
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

Dubai’s aspirations to establish itself as a global business hub received a substantial boost in 2023, marked by a remarkable 550% increase in establishing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the emirate.

This growth, primarily driven by businesses from Asia and Australia, highlights Dubai’s dedication to attracting foreign direct investment and cementing its status as a leading commercial hub.

According to a report by the Dubai International Chamber, 104 SMEs moved to Dubai in the past year. Geographically, these new arrivals are distributed as follows: 32% from the Middle East and Eurasia, followed closely by a combined 29% from Asia and Australia. Latin American and European businesses accounted for 26%, while Africa contributed 13%.

The influx of SMEs was not evenly distributed across industries. Trade and logistics emerged as the most popular sector, attracting 17% of new firms. This was followed by IT (13%) and food and agriculture (10%).

Dubai Chamber officials attribute this remarkable growth to a combination of factors. Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, the organization’s president and CEO, emphasized the emirate’s business-friendly environment, streamlined regulations, and diverse investment opportunities as key drivers.

“Our network of international representative offices in key global markets has effectively promoted Dubai’s business community and highlighted the emirate’s value for companies seeking global expansion,” he added.

This focus on attracting foreign businesses aligns with Dubai’s efforts to empower local SMEs in their global expansion endeavors. In 2023, the Dubai International Chamber expanded its network of representative offices by 16, reaching 31 locations worldwide.

Further supporting SME ambitions, Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, announced a landmark initiative in January. This $136.16 million program, launched in partnership with Emirates NBD, aims to provide SMEs with access to competitive financing to support their global aspirations.

With a thriving SME sector already accounting for 60% of Dubai’s workforce, the surge in international arrivals positions the emirate as a hub for entrepreneurial activity worldwide.

The Innovation By Design Summit is in Doha on April 24. Attendance at the summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register here to receive their exclusive invite.

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