By Javed Ansari
My name is Ali and I am an Emirati national in the process of setting up a small business that provides local product development services. My question is about access to bank finance or lines of credit from banks to help me start my business up. Can you help point me in the right direction?
There are quite a few initiatives in the UAE supporting Emirati entrepreneurs. A couple of the most established government initiatives are the Abu Dhabi Khalifa Fund and Dubai SME. Both of which not only provide funding to startups, but also support startups at every step of the way by helping with the development of the business plan and financial forecasting through to providing advisory and business incubation services.
There are also some other financial institutions that have been given a mandate to provide a percentage of their lending to SME’s. Such institutions include Emirates Development Bank, HSBC, and Emirates Islamic Bank. Each of these lenders may have specific requirements in terms of sector, industry, and business type but all are catering to SME’s owned by Emiratis.
In addition, our President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa very recently approved an excellent new legislation, under which federal authorities and ministries must contract at least 10% of their procurement budget for purchasing, servicing, and consulting to SMEs.
Hope this works out for you.