Craig Moore, founder and CEO of Beehive, took home the newly-established People’s Choice Award: Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Arabian Business StartUp Awards 2016 held last week.
While a panel of judges determined the other 14 category winners, the People’s Choice Award was entirely left up to the public’s vote. One third of the garnered 3,201 votes went to Beehive, the UAE’s first P2P financing platform.
“I think the Beehive story is unique because the model has multiple beneficiaries,” Moore says. “SMEs have access to a faster, cheaper finance option, investors are getting better returns and we are contributing to the economy and trying to help reduce the SME funding gap.
“But the platform creates a real community and has a far reaching impact. Many of our SMEs have used the funds to drive innovation, hire more staff or expand into other territories.”
In 2014 Moore teamed up with Rick Pudner, former Group CEO of Emirates NBD, to transform lending in the UAE through the use of innovative peer-to-peer (P2P) technology.
Since then, Beehive has helped bridge a funding gap in the UAE market by channelling around AED 60 million of funding to local SMEs.
By the end of the year, the Beehive team anticipates delivering year on year growth of circa 75 percent.
Moore has a positive outlook for 2017, although stating that the high costs of operations in the UAE, especially those affecting business expansion plans, is still a challenge for local entrepreneurs.
“Start-up ecosystems that look to drive innovation need low costs of set up particularly for knowledge businesses,” he says. “Dubai Expo 2020 preparations will, hopefully, feed through the supply chains, creating many growth opportunities for regional SMEs in 2017 and beyond.
“Also increasing collaboration and trade between North, South, East and West presents exciting opportunities for this region, which is ideally placed to capitalise.”
The new series of our Entrepreneur of the Week column, which has been published weekly on ArabianBusiness.com since September 7, 2015, will commence on Sunday, 27 November.
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