Press Release

May 12, 2013

Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards seeks to strengthen SME sector in the UAE

With the launch of the second edition of the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards, the UAE’s premiere SME business recognition programme seeks to honour the outstanding contributions of small- and medium sized businesses in generating employment and boosting the country’s GDP.

SMEs are widely recognised as engines of business growth in developed markets, where they are responsible for contributing to over 60% to 70%v of employment and more than 50% of GDP.

“In the UAE where the SME sector accounts for more than 90% of businesses, it becomes even more incumbent for the business community to boost their success and help build their ability to generate new employment and increase their contributions to the GDP,” said Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Capital, which recently raised $215 million (AED 790 million) – including a $20 million (AED 73 million) contribution from the International Finance Corporation – for its credit and mezzanine fund, intended primarily at financing small businesses.

“It is for this reason that we are supporting initiatives like the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards because we strongly believe it is a highly effective platform for encouraging other SMEs to succeed, no matter what the odds, and have a far-reaching impact on the economy and the greater society at large,” he added.

In the UAE alone, more than a million people are expected to enter the job market by 2030. Of this figure, more than 600,000 are UAE nationals; and the rest are new expatriate workforce who will be needed to work in key sectors and labour-intensive jobs as the Emirates continues its march to becoming a first-world economy.

“The private sector will play a pivotal role in generating new employment, thus the need for a better support system that will give existing SMEs a boost, as well as inspire others to launch their start-ups,” continued El Solh.

Organisers of the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards believe that the recognition programme goes beyond the giving of trophies and certificates. “We actively promote these businesses and share their success stories with others. Sharing knowledge and challenges for start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs, we provide connection to mentorship and resources which are aimed at capacity building for start-ups to help them achieve sustainable growth so they can continue generating new employment opportunities and help the growth of the UAE economy as a whole,” said Becky Crayman, Head of Awards, Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards.

Now in its second year, the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards honours the UAE’s most successful SMEs, entrepreneurs and business leaders in 11 different categories, including the Gulf Capital Business of the Year, MasterCard Small Business of the Year, Emirati Business of the Year, Online Business of the Year, RSA Start-Up Business of the Year, Sustainable Initiative of the Year, Customer Focus of the Year, Business Innovation of the Year and People & Culture of the Year.

 The Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards are now accepting entries until the deadline on 13 June 2013. Entrants must hold a valid trade license in the UAE, have been trading for two years (with exception of the RSA Start-up Business of the Year), have a turnover of AED 250 million or less and fewer than 250 employees. Entries will not be accepted from branches of international subsidiaries.