Press Release

February 13, 2014

The Gulf Capital SME Awards programme seeks to recognise top performing SMEs

A new survey of the top SMEs in the UAE shows 90% of small business owners are optimistic about their prospects in 2014 on the basis of an expected strong year-end performance.

The poll was conducted by MEED among the top 20 small and medium-sized businesses in the UAE to determine year-end performance and business outlook for 2014. With partners Gulf Capital, RSA and MasterCard, known strong supporters of the SME community in the region, the Gulf Capital SME Awards programme seeks to recognise top performing small and medium-sized businesses as well as outstanding entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The positive outlook of SMEs reflects the continuing improvements in the UAE economy, which last year grew by 4.5 percent. The new draft laws on foreign investment and business competition, once legislated, are expected to further boost the SME sector in the emirates. Another legal framework that is expected to enhance the business environment is the new competition law which is expected to be announced early this year.

“For the Dubai SME 100, we’ve witnessed a 50 percent increase in our applications this year. We expect this figure to grow even more next year as more business opportunities arise with the continuing growth of the economy. We have programmes in place to help ensure the success of our entrepreneurs, including partnering with the Gulf Capital SME Awards programme, to recognise best practices and success stories that will hopefully inspire more to become business owners,” said HE Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, the agency under the Department of Economic Development mandated to develop Dubai’s SME sector.

An overwhelming majority of the SMEs polled, 85 percent, expected to achieve a higher net profit by the end of 2013 compared to their 2012 performance.

Prabissh Thomas, Founder and Managing Director, PTL Solar, a leading solar energy solutions provider, said, “We are looking forward to enter new markets with our Business Vertical of PTL Solar Mart – a franchise based business model for the solar industry. The initiative is expected to boost the adoption of solar energy platforms in the business sector in the UAE as well as the rest of the Gulf region.”

“We are gearing up for a more competitive environment for businesses in general and SMEs in particular. This is why we expect more SMEs to achieve break-out performances next year, making the awards more competitive and challenging. “It will be exciting to find out who among the SMEs will be declared as winners in the Gulf Capital SME Awards,” said Becky Crayman, Head of Awards, MEED.

Another potentially strong impetus for SME growth in the coming years will come from opportunities arising from Dubai’s triumphant World Expo 2020 bid. Adam McEwan, Managing Director, Platinum Heritage Tourism says Dubai’s hosting of the prestigious global event will result in excellent global exposure and increase in tourism numbers. He said, “We just need to be careful that increases in rent and expenses do not negate this advantage. We are also concerned that we will need temporary staff (6 months) but the current visa structure does not allow for this.”

“Sustainability being one of the three themes for Dubai Expo 2020, and it being planned as the world’s largest carbon neutral event when it happens, we believe energy efficient and environment friendly technologies will be adapted and thus potentially more business for our company,” said Mostafa Nassar, Business Development Manager, WMS Metal Industries.

With such massive opportunities on the horizon for UAE small business owners, Crayman says those who have strong track record of performance and credibility in the market will have stronger chances of success. “On behalf of MEED, we are proud to be working with such prominent SME supporters, Gulf Capital, MasterCard and RSA who are committed to enabling growth in the SME sector in the UAE.”

For more information on the Gulf Capital SME Awards, please visit