Plans to set up a council of small and medium-sized enterprises to drive the growth of SMEs in the UAE are in their final stages, according to a senior official.
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said that the council will usher in a new phase of growth and development for the SME sector in the country.
The Ministry of Economy is currently liaising with various stakeholders in the private and public sector, news agency WAM reported.
SMEs in the UAE contribute approximately 40 percent of total UAE GDP, 70 percent of non-oil GDP, and employ 42 percent of its workforce while 70 percent of the country's SMEs are internationally oriented.
Al Mansouri said: "The SME sector is seen as a major contributor to economic growth and diversification. In addition to playing a major role in the UAE’s transformation towards a knowledge-based economy, SMEs are a key employment generator and mitigate adverse economic and social effects.
"Given its phenomenal potential, the UAE Vision 2021 has set up a national index that the contribution of the SME sector to the nation’s non-oil GDP must reach 70 percent by 2021."
The council will assume its role of reviewing and approving funding programmes for Emirati SME entrepreneurs, based on the recommendations provided by the Central Bank and the Emirates Development Bank, WAM said.
The council will also provide guidelines and rules necessary for coordination between the concerned programmes and entities and will set the conditions and criteria for membership to the National Programme for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Projects.
The programme, which will function under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy, will coordinate with federal and local government entities and the private sector for the purpose of marketing SME products in the UAE and abroad.
Al Mansouri added that the Emirates Development Bank is currently working on developing a suite of distinctive funding programmes for Emirati SME entrepreneurs.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.