The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and Abu Dhabi-based Finance House have signed an agreement to boost funding opportunities for small and medium enterprises owned by Emiratis.
The programme, called the credit guarantee scheme, will provide the fund’s members with financial incentives, including giving SMEs the opportunity to borrow directly from banks at more affordable rates and for a longer duration, the Khalifa Fund said on Wednesday.
It also aims to start new relationships between certain SMEs and banks without previous business links, increasing liquidity in marginalised sectors overlooked by financial institutions, resulting in economic growth through diversification, it said.
“We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs through a wide array of innovative solutions. Our collaboration will facilitate SMEs’ access to financing options and will provide the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with a great resource,” said Alia Al Mazrouei, chief executive of the Khalifa Fund.
“This collaboration will play a pivotal role in promoting economic activity throughout the business ecosystem and encourage UAE nationals to develop and grow their businesses with greater ease and confidence.”
SMEs are considered the backbone of an economy and have played a critical role in the UAE private sector, making up a significant portion of businesses.
Latest government data shows SMEs represent more than 94 per cent of all companies operating in the country, with 73 per cent in the wholesale and retail sector.
The growth in earnings of UAE SMEs is almost on par with the global average of 46 per cent, up from 39 per cent last year, with two-thirds of them saying they have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, a Euromonitor study said.
Globally, the market is expected to hit $55.6 trillion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate of 27.4 per cent, from an estimated $13tn in 2021, data from US-based research firm Imarc Group said.
The Khalifa Fund’s agreement with Finance House is a follow-up to its inaugural E-Commerce Acceleration Programme, which was launched in September and is designed to enable SMEs to capitalise on e-commerce technologies to help them grow their businesses.
This collaboration will play a pivotal role in promoting economic activity throughout the business ecosystem and encourage UAE nationals to develop and grow their businesses with greater ease and confidence
Alia Al Mazrouei, chief executive of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development
The Abu Dhabi agency’s SME support schemes also go beyond the UAE’s borders. In August, it announced that it will provide $30 million in financing to SMEs in Kenya to support capital Nairobi’s programmes to boost the economy and create jobs.
The fund has recently enhanced its membership programme to boost entrepreneurship in the UAE and holds an annual Venturist Entrepreneurship Spring Camp for young entrepreneurs.
Finance House, which has dedicated solutions for SMEs, has been active in assisting these companies. It has already provided more than Dh5 billion ($1.36bn) to the sector, its founder Mohammed Alqubaisi said.
“By supporting them, we are also contributing to our community and to the overall growth of the economy,” he said.
Updated: November 09, 2022, 9:25 AM