DubaiSME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) mandated to develop  the SME sector, has announced the first-ever DubaiSME 100 ranking of companies in a ceremony held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The companies that made into the first list of top 100 SMEs were honoured by His Highness Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Economic Sector Committee in Dubai, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, at the ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony, His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED, said: “The Government of Dubai has launched various initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and SME development under its SME five-year plan. This commitment to promote entrepreneurship and SMEs is in the DNA of Dubai, supported and led by our socio-economic stability, openness and visionary leadership. The DubaiSME 100 initiative will serve to inspire our emerging SMEs. It will encourage them to think outside accepted parameters, push their creativity and thus achieve their goals.”

He added: “I congratulate the first batch of Dubai SME 100 companies who have demonstrated the willingness and capabilities to be evaluated under the DubaiSME 100 model. They have shown commendable performance and vision for growth and development. I also commend DubaiSME for launching such an initiative to create a dynamic platform for all SMEs to come forward on their own will, participate, exchange information and share best practices. I am sure SMEs will be curious to know how their fellow-enterprises have grown and developed.”

The DubaiSME 100 initiative was launched by His Highness Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum on 14th March 2011. The initiative, aimed to identify outstanding SME performance and potential, forms a critical component of the DubaiSME five-year plan approved by the Economic Sector Committee in 2009.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of DubaiSME, said: “Dubai has been the epicentre of global business opportunities and development for decades. Many great companies and global brands have been built in Dubai over the last three decades. Indeed, their story is the story of Dubai’s economic development. Moving forward, to sustain Dubai’s dynamism and the can-do spirit, we need a new wave of thinking, action and energy. We need new ideas, more innovations; we need new ways of doing things; we need to take more risks, stretch ourselves, and overcome challenges. In short, we need to overcome all barriers to create new value for the economy. Dubai SME 100 is a major means to achieve this.”

“By ranking and recognising the top SMEs, we are opening several fronts. These top 100 SMEs have persevered to achieve major triumphs for their business models, innovations and brands over the years. They have become successful in their own right. Dubai SME’s role is to create a platform for evaluating these top SMEs. Investors, in particular will be interested to know who these promising SMEs are, and perhaps invest in them. Through Dubai SME 100, we hope to create an indirect pipeline of SMEs for a secondary SME listing market in Dubai. This will help SMEs gain additional external capital, new talents, markets and brand enhancements.”

Al Janahi noted that Dubai is home to a rich diversity of companies, especially SMEs across varied sectors such as trading, services and manufacturing. “Yet we do not often hear or know who among them are the fastest growing and most talented, or what their ambitions are. These SMEs have used Dubai as a base to start their business journey, and are now flourishing,” he said, adding that Dubai SME 100 will bring the spotlight on these SMEs, enabling them to accelerate growth.

The SME sector in Dubai is a major driver of the economy, accounting for 95% of the enterprises and 40% of the workforce in Dubai and contributing 42 % of the annual value-add created by the emirate. Many SMEs that originated in Dubai have grown on to become global enterprises. The SME sector, in addition to being a key source of innovations, new products, services, markets and new business models, also supports a whole business ecosystem and all parts of the industry value chain making up the economy of Dubai and the UAE.

Dubai SME 100

The Dubai SME 100 ranking will act as a platform and catalyst to identify promising SMEs – to groom them to become bigger, better and sustainable enterprises; eventually graduating them to large globally-oriented companies. At its core, the ranking is aimed at:

– Celebrating Dubai’s top performing SMEs

– Creating greater awareness of the importance of SME development

– Creating a national motivational psyche in the nation’s social and business community

– Encouraging SME role models to share best practices.

– Marketing the capabilities of Dubai’s SME’s to regional and global investors

– Providing opportunities  for SMEs  to raise capital

– Creating a base of SMEs for a potential secondary listing of SMEs (IPO) that can attract equity capital for growth.

– Providing development path for SMEs to graduate

– Creating a culture of transparency and corporate governance.

Unlike other rankings which are based mainly or purely on financial indicators, the Dubai SME 100 ranking places a balanced emphasis on financial and non-financial dimensions that affect enterprise performance and development. The non-financial dimensions cover innovation, international orientation, human capital development and corporate excellence.  The ranking will also serve as a tool for helping SMEs identify capability gaps for improvement. This is the real value add of Dubai SME 100.

The ultimate outcome will be for Dubai to have more growth-oriented, innovative, capable and sustainable enterprises that can fly the UAE flag high.

The basic criterion is that the applicant must be an SME based on the official definition of Dubai’s SMEs. In addition, it must have audited financial statements for at least three years, and be an independent entity registered in Dubai (under DED or the Free Zones).  SMEs will be ranked only after they have submitted all relevant information voluntarily. Hence the ranking does not necessarily represent Dubai’s top SMEs, but SMEs that have undergone the Dubai SME evaluation process for ranking.

Key facts and figures of the DubaiSME 100 applicants and short-listed candidates are:

1. A total of 1092 SMEs registered for the initiative, of which 196 SMEs applied to move on to Stage 2 of the application and evaluation process. From these 196 serious applicants, the top 100 were selected and ranked based on complete submissions of financial statements, supplemented by either a management interview or site visit to ascertain facts and evaluate the merits of each case.

2. Of the 100 ranked SMEs, based on Dubai’s official SME definition, 15 % are classified as micro SMEs, 52% as small SMEs and 33% as medium-sized SMEs.

3. In terms of sectors, 62% are from the Services, 13% are from the Manufacturing and 25% belong to the trading sector.

4. The combined turnover of the top 100 SMEs based on their latest financial records is estimated at AED 2.3 billion. Their estimate total assets are worth at AED 1.4 billion and the combined profit is AED 220 million.

5. Together, the top 100 SMEs in Dubai have 4,319 employees.

For the rankings please click here

Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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