Visa privileges for ‘Dubai SME 100’ companies
Rushika Bhatia

Visa privileges for ‘Dubai SME 100’ companies

Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED), Government of Dubai, has signed a partnership agreement with Visa to offer benefits to the top 100 SMEs in the payments market when they use their Visa Business Card.

The benefits include discounts and savings on business expenses to SMEs at selective merchants worldwide and attendance in workshops and seminars on effectively managing working capital through Visa Business Card solution. These benefits will be valid for two years in line with the tenure of the ranking.

His Excellency Abdul Basit Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME, termed the partnership a major milestone in creating value for the Dubai SME 100 initiative launched by Dubai SME earlier this year to rank the 100 top-performing SMEs in Dubai and groom them.

The Dubai SME 100 ranking will act as a platform and catalyst to nurture promising SMEs into bigger, better and sustainable enterprises with the aim of eventually graduating them to large, globally-oriented companies.

“SMEs require advice on how to develop financial management skills and Visa’s offer to transmit knowledge to SME 100 companies in this area is highly commendable.  The SME 100 companies will especially benefit from the Visa’s educational workshops,” Al Janahi said.

Mr. Kamran Siddiqi, General Manager Visa Middle East added: “We are delighted to be working with Dubai SME to offer the top 100 SMEs the opportunity to enjoy the many benefits associated with Visa Business Card solution. The partnership provides a unique opportunity for us to work with SMEs, and to share global best practices which will help them to better manage and control their business expenses.”

At its core, the SME 100 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 their best practices in management

– 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, corporate governance and best practice sharing.

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 of 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.

The basic criterion is that the applicant must be an SME based on the official definition of Dubai’s SMEs, with up to 250 employees and a turnover of up to AED250 million. In addition, it must have audited financial statements for at least three years, and be an independent entity registered in Dubai (under DED or any Free Zone).

Over 830 eligible SMEs have been nominated by banks, business councils and Free Zones to participate in the initiative, with more nominations expected in the next few weeks. The first ever Dubai SME100 ranking list will be out in late October 2011.