Press Release

July 23, 2018

Top SME Finalists in Gulf Capital Awards Show Resilience with 100% Growth

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 14 July 2018 – The finalists of the 2018 Gulf Capital SME Awards report a two-year compounded growth rate of 100%, underscoring the resilience of small businesses in the UAE amidst challenging economic times.

A total of 97 finalists have been shortlisted this year, with 11% increase in entries to 2017, highlighting another banner edition of MEED’s awards programme that recognises success, innovation and growth in the SME sector in the Emirates.

“Every year we are astounded at the quality of the entries we receive, which makes it more difficult to shortlist and then pick winners – this is a testament to the vibrancy of the SME sector in the UAE and that it continues to be a core driver for growth in this country,” commented John Emmerson, Director, SME Awards, MEED, the leading business intelligence provider in the Middle East.

Equally impressive, the finalists reported a combined turnover of AED1.3bn last year which shows small businesses continue to be a key pillar of the UAE’s development.

“These numbers without a doubt prove that the UAE has put in place very strong fundamentals to support the growth of the SME sector in the Emirates. More and more small businesses are reporting remarkable growth, and this awards programme which we have been supporting for the last six years have put the spotlight on entrepreneurs and business leaders who are making a difference by innovating and pursuing new avenues of growth that contribute to the dynamism of the economy,” 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.

The finalists are competing in 16 award categories, including B2B Small Business of the Year (above AED15 million), B2B Small Business of the Year (below AED15 million), B2C Small Business of the Year, Business Innovation of the Year, Customer Focus of the Year, Digital Business of the Year, Disruption of the Year, Micro Business of the Year, People and Culture of the Year, Start-up Business of the Year and Sustainable Business of the Year.

Supporting the UAE government’s entrepreneurial drive, the awards programme also honours outstanding business by its citizens with the Emirati Business of the Year awards. Three individual trophies will be given to the Entrepreneur of the Year, Business Leader of the Year and the New Entrepreneur of the Year.

The highly sought-after Gulf Capital Business of the Year award is being contested by Bin Touq Transport, Bizx Trading, Emitech Technical Services, FLC Marketing, Himatrix Middle East, Lunatus, Phanes Group, Spatial Composite Solutions, Tablix Technology, Time Hotel, Tour Dubai 1 Floating Restaurant and yallacompare.

MEED’s SME awards programme is supported by endorsing partners Dubai SME and the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.

The full list of finalists is available online at The shortlisted SMEs will go through another round of evaluation by the judging panel after which the final set of winners will be announced on 26 September 2018 at Ritz Carlton DIFC, Dubai.

The Gulf Capital SME Awards is sponsored by Gulf Capital and Virtuzone.