H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, said that the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is a key pillar of the national economy, and that the UAE continues to give increasing attention to the sector through initiatives and programmes launched to support entrepreneurship in the city.
According to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan, "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has continued to emphasise the role of youth in building the future and the importance of empowering them through providing them with opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential. We are committed to realising H.H.'s vision and introducing solutions and initiatives that will transform their creative energies into achievements that support our development journey."
His Highness's remarks came as he launched 'Dubai Next,' an integrated digital platform that allows ambitious youth and innovators from diverse nationalities in Dubai to secure the required funding to launch their projects.
"The 'Dubai Next' platform will contribute to stimulating positive competition and encouraging youth to put forward innovative ideas as well as obtain community support through crowdfunding. It will also empower a generation that is capable of innovating to succeed in a competitive commercial environment, thus reinforcing the fundamental role of SMEs in economic development so that the UAE can continue to stand as a model for youth empowerment," H.H. said.
Crowdfunding is the use of small amounts of capital from individuals to finance a new business venture. With the use of digital technologies, aspiring entrepreneurs can now present their ideas and projects to a larger segment of the community locally and globally, and obtain direct financing or support in marketing the idea.
H.H. praised the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME), the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the SME sector, for its role in strengthening the UAE's status as a leading pioneer in promoting entrepreneurship. Trade is an essential component of the national economy and part of the social and cultural heritage of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan said, noting that the UAE has always been keen to provide youth with incentives to launch their own businesses as an alternative to working in traditional jobs.
Since its launch in 2002, Dubai SME has continued to provide vital support and guidance to SMEs and emerging companies, while also introducing youth to entrepreneurial opportunities, new trends and tools in order to create a successful enterprise.
The launch of the initiative is also part of several efforts taken to support the growth of SMEs. A series of economic incentives and policies were introduced in the last few months that benefited many startups.
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, expressed his appreciation to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed for launching the 'Dubai Next' platform.
"Dubai continues to promote entrepreneurship, embrace innovators and creative entrepreneurs and provide them with all forms of support, as per the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Additionally, Dubai has enabled entrepreneurs to implement their vision and transform their ideas into distinct projects that support sustainable development and efforts to build a knowledge economy. The city's ongoing efforts will contribute to enhancing the emirate's position locally and regionally and enable it to reach the largest segment of young entrepreneurs in diverse sectors," Al Qamzi said.
Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said: "The 'Dubai Next' platform is fully aligned with the Dubai SME's mission to create platforms that promote entrepreneurship. The launch of the initiative reflects the Government of Dubai's keenness to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing creators and innovators and highlight their capabilities in various sectors as well as provide them with community support, guidance and follow-up support in line with the UAE's strategic goals for sustainable growth and promoting knowledge and technologies."
Al Janahi added: "Dubai SME's efforts to provide innovative financing solutions to SMEs is in line with our leadership's directives to create an ideal environment for supporting innovative ideas and initiatives, especially projects by Emiratis, through ensuring that at least 50 percent of the funding required is obtained through crowdfunding."
'Dubai Next' offers an innovative crowdfunding solution, enabling the community to participate in supporting emerging projects in a safe and secure manner, which in turn promotes growth of enterprises and society alike. The platform provides the ideal choice for students and innovators to present their projects to potential investors and supporters.
The platform enables emerging enterprises to grow, expand and launch new products. Dubai SME provides a package of incentives for those who obtain financing on 'Dubai Next.' The package includes incubating the idea in the Hamdan Innovation Incubator (HI2) or in one of the 14 certified incubators in Dubai.
The incubators provide varied services and packages as well as an ideal work environment, effectively contributing to launching innovative projects and supporting them to successfully compete in the local market and expand globally.
For more details on Dubai Next and to pitch for crowdfunding on the digital platform, visit www.dubainext.ae.