A timeline of SME milestones in celebration of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed's 70th birthday
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

A timeline of SME milestones in celebration of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed's 70th birthday

This is how his vision is being realised in the city.

In honour and celebration of the 70th birthday of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, we are noting the emirate's biggest milestones achieved for the SME sector since 2018.

January 2018

  • UAE introduction of VAT for all businesses in the country. Exempts small businesses and startups with revenues below AED 375,000.

  • First US startup accelerator in Dubai, TechStars begins its three-month programme.

  • The tenth edition of Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders receives 456 entries. Of them, 76 businesses by Emirati entrepreneurs qualify for the second round; together they generated AED 963 million in revenues, AED180 million in profit and created over 4,000 jobs.

March 2018

  • Dubai SME introduces regulations for business accelerators and incubators. The business incubator license offers 100% ownership and investors can apply for the license through Dubai SME, which will be in charge of organising and monitoring the activities of the incubators.

  • Incubators will need to provide workspace, consultancy, guidance on project development, specialised training programmes as well as workshops on administrative, marketing, financial and economic aspects, “in addition to strategic alliances with global business partners and support for capability development and international expansion.

  • The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) confirmed that registration for VAT can be done in three easy steps through their e-Services portal within just 15-20 minutes.

April 2018

  • The 5th edition of SME World 2018 Celebrates the Region’s Largest Entrepreneurial Quests, with 1k+ attendees.

May 2018

July 2018

October 2018

October 2018

December 2018

February 2019

  • Emirates Development Bank launches Dh100m 'Credit Guarantee Scheme' for SMEs.

  • Plug and Play launches travel and hospitality accelerator programme in partnership with Abu Dhabi Global Market, within the financial hub. Together they partner with Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) to start the programme.

March 2019

  • Dubai SME forms partnership with Emaar Industries & Investments to support SMEs to grow globally.

  • The Dubai Government rolls out multiple initiatives to supporting SMEs and public-private partnerships. They include:

    • Allocation of projects worth AED 1 billion for government-private partnerships.

    • Speeding payments for SMEs to receive their dues within 30 days.

    • Primary insurance value slashed for SMEs to 1-3 per cent. Under this measure, minimum primary insurance was slashed by half to Dh20m, a figure that applies to 80 per cent of SMEs, while the maximum primary insurance was reduced to Dh60m from Dh100m, that applies to the remaining SMEs.

    • Providing 5 per cent of government capital projects to SMEs, worth up to Dh400m.

  • SME Beyond Borders 10X takes place in Dubai, highlighting business owners preparing for the future, and finding key insights and trends into technology that will emerge over the next decade.

  • The 6th edition of SME World 2019 is held in Dubai, that celebrates the success of SMEs and help them emerge as leaders in their respective fields.

April 2019

May 2019

June 2019

  • Abu Dhabi signs an agreement with the First Abu Dhabi Bank, to extend state-backed loans to SMEs, opening up more financing avenues for them.

  • FAB will be the sole operator of the Dh9 billion set aside for SMEs under the government's Ghadan 21 economic stimulus package.

  • Khalifa Fund and Dubai SME organize workshop for Pitch@Palace UAE

July 2019

  • Over 1,500 federal government services fees were reduced or cancelled as per UAE Ministry of Finance.

  • MOHRE revises the fee structure of 145 services and 128 transactions, decreasing it by up to 94%.