Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, is visiting its members to further strengthen its comprehensive SME support programmes, particularly the incentive package it announced to help entrepreneurs and start-ups reduce the impact of COVID-19. His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, is himself leading the outreach programme, visiting Dubai SME members every month for an informal conversation on their current situation and if they would require any assistance.
“Constant communication and engagement with businesses is critical to bringing economic activity and growth in Dubai to the remarkable levels that made Dubai an attractive destination for investors and entrepreneurs. Dubai SME is closely following up and communicating directly with the various business sectors to identify their challenges and requirements and challenges, as directed by the leadership. We started our field visits after the various sectors in the emirate reopened, and we will continue to energise SMEs and enable them to go past challenges. A casual visit or conversation with the entrepreneurial community helps to instil confidence among them and add to the stimulus measures being launched by the leadership,” commented Al Janahi.
The first of the outreach programmes saw Al Janahi visiting 19 Dubai SME members, speaking on the key aspects of the support available and how entrepreneurs can make use of them to go past operational challenges, maintain liquidity, and continue to develop the business. The COVID-19 support package of Dubai SME includes payment holidays on existing financing, capital guarantees on new financing, rent deferrals and remote advisory, and education and training for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
“SMEs in Dubai have continued to grow and add to the competitiveness of retailing and services in the emirate. The businesses we visited in the first phase have benefitted from the various start-up development programmes of Dubai SME, including idea incubation and capital guarantees,” Al Janahi added.
One of the members visited by Al Janahi was Bouguessa Fashion in Dubai Design District (D3). Founded by Faiza Bouguessa in 2014, the project has grown into a successful business with a seed capital loan from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for SMEs (The Fund), the financial arm of Dubai SME. The seed capital loan is an interest free loan that helps reduce initial costs of starting a business.
“Dubai SME has always been very supportive, and this has helped Bouguessa improve its business from an administrative and operational standpoint over the years. The fact that the Dubai SME CEO has taken time to visit us personally just shows the level of commitment and attention they devote to members,” commented Faiza Bouguessa.
The Espresso Lab, PDL Coffee & Barbershop, Naya Yoga & Pilates, German Auto Care, Gafla Jewellery, Acai Berry, Milk Bakery & Café, By Cloud Fragrance, Mirak, Nourish, Yash Collection Boutique, Hash Women’s Clothing, The Fleuriste Boutique, and She Burger, in addition to four new projects launched during the COVID-19 period - Be Speciality Coffee, Falcon Coffee Roasters, Ketchup restaurant, and Taqeem Express - were also among the SME businesses Al Janahi visited.
Ibrahim Al Mallouhi, Founder of The Espresso Lab, turned his passion for coffee to reality in 2015 when he opened the first speciality coffee house in the UAE with the support of Dubai SME. In 2020, the Espresso Lab was funded by The Fund through an expansion loan to open a café and roastery in Al Quoz. The expansion loan is an optimised solution for entrepreneurs who wish to expand their business.
“We truly appreciate the professional approach of Dubai SME and the great attention given to ensuring that the vision of our leadership on economic development through successful entrepreneurship is being achieved,” commented Al Mallouhi.
Naya Yoga & Pilates, founded by Fatima Binbraik, was supported by The Fund to open its second branch in Time Square, while German Auto Care and PDL Coffee & Barbershop received seed capital loans. Gafla, a contemporary fine jewellery brand located in D3, was conceptualised and launched by the graduates of the Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2) in Dubai SME.
For more information on the COVID-19 support package of Dubai SME, please contact: email@example.com