Over the years, UAE Free Zones have emerged as a great opportunity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to set up business in the country. The UAE has 36 free zones and a majority of them are located in Dubai. Cost of setup packages begin from AED 15,000 and can go up to AED 50,000, depending upon the nature of the business.
SMEs are vital contributors to the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP). 95 percent of the total enterprises in the state is comprised of SMEs, with SMEs accounting for over 40 percent of private sector employment for the local and expat population.
Key challenge for SMEs: Access to credit
SMEs find it difficult to access loans at reasonable rates or sometimes do not get a loan at all. Data shows that the bank rejection rate for applications made by SMEs varies between 50 and 70 percent.
Steps that the government is taking steps to provide a robust environment for SMEs to flourish
The SMEWORLD Summit 2017, the world’s largest entrepreneurship conference, will be held in Dubai at Atlantis, The Palm Dubai, in March next year. The summit will celebrate the hopes and ambitions of the entrepreneur, bring together high-profile entrepreneurs, investors, government and the media and act as perfect platform for those who are looking to widen their connections, gather leadership insights and get inspired. Additionally, talented artists, fashion designers, keynote speakers, engaging panel discussions, strategic workshops and speed networking sessions re expected to draw over 2000 attendees to the event.
A mega project that is expected to generate tremendous potential for SMEs to expand, diversify and improve their business is Expo 2020. According to the Dubai Economic Department, SMEs are expected to generate a windfall of AED 90 billion windfall from the event.
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