Finance | smes finance facilitator programme launched in abu dhabi

SMEs finance facilitator programme launched in Abu Dhabi

A new programme designed to improve small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SME) access to financial services and enhance sustainable growth has been launched in the UAE.

The SME Finance Facilitator programme will speed up the process of opening bank accounts and accessing credit facilities, to help support working capital needs and long-term growth.

The programme, launched by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) partnering with the Emirates Classification Society (Tasneef) and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), is being backed by leading Abu Dhabi banks. It is part of ADDED’s efforts to enhance the business ecosystem for SMEs as a key driver of a diversified and sustainable economy.

The department said the programme is a result of research, analysis and engagements with SMEs, financial institutions and other stakeholders to address challenges facing SMEs.

“We are forging ahead with our efforts to empower SMEs and enhance their role in the next phase of our diversification strategy by contributing to non-oil GDP, creating new job opportunities in the knowledge-based economy and increasing exports,” said Mouza Obaid Al Nasri, executive director of SMEs Sector at ADDED.

The programme will assign financial facilitators to help participating businesses prepare financial and non-financial requirements. It aims to foster trust between SMEs and financial institutions and lead to transparent communication and collaborative credit assessment.

Working closely with participating banks, the assigned financial facilitator will also support qualified Abu Dhabi-based SMEs with preferential rates and fees for banking services and products.

Al Nasri said the SME finance programme was “a valuable addition to ADDED’s initiatives as access to finance is a major challenge facing SMEs”.

He added that SMEs are a vital sector in Abu Dhabi’s economy, accounting for 98% of businesses, employing 46% of the workforce and contributing 42.8% to the non-oil GDP.

Khalfan Al Saadi, general manager at Tasneef Business Assurance, said: “The SME Finance Facilitator programme holds a pivotal role in evaluating, preserving and overseeing the quality of services offered by finance facilitator service providers.

“Tasneef, operating as a provider of business assurance services within the SME finance facilitator service, recognises the indispensable role of SMEs in propelling economic growth. We stress the significance of expertise, quality, transparency and punctual service delivery as fundamental pillars for the prosperity of this programme.”

ADDED has launched a number of initiatives, including the Abu Dhabi SME Champions programme, to enable SMEs to increase their share of procurement opportunities from private large companies and government-related entities.

Free zone boost to UAE start-up companies

A free zone in the UAE is offering businesses special set-up rates and sustainable start-up rates to coincide with the COP28 climate change conference.

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) has launched a business set-up offer that extends a two-year licence with no fee for office set-ups, providing entrepreneurs with a cost-effective solution to establish their eco-friendly operations in the UAE.

In a statement on its website RAKEZ said: “This strategic move aligns seamlessly with the goals of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), demonstrating RAKEZ’s unwavering dedication to embracing sustainable practices by offering tailor-made packages designed to assist businesses in contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.”

RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad said: “We started early on our sustainability and energy-saving programmes at RAKEZ, and have diligently worked towards fostering an eco-friendly business environment.

“Our commitment is not just in words but in actions, offering substantial support and incentives to businesses that align with our vision.

“At RAKEZ, we are firmly committed to fostering growth, innovation, sustainability, and exceptional customer service.

“Our new COP28 business set-up offer is a clear demonstration of our unwavering dedication to these ideals.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of this movement, actively supporting businesses that share our vision and providing them with the necessary resources to make a positive impact”.