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Dubai sees 550% annual rise in global SMEs attracted to the emirate

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Asian and Australian businesses helped fuel a 550 percent annual rise in small and medium enterprises setting up in Dubai in 2023, according to a report.

The top sector for these SMEs was trade and logistics at 17 percent © Mena Today 

Asian and Australian businesses helped fuel a 550 percent annual rise in small and medium enterprises setting up in Dubai in 2023, according to a report.

The emirate’s international chamber has revealed 104 SMEs were attracted to Dubai in the 12 months to the end of December, a development that underlines its ambitions to double the size of the emirate’s economy and consolidate its position among the top three global cities.

According to a statement, 32 percent of the firms shifting to the emirate were from the Middle East and Eurasia, followed by Asian and Australian SMEs at 29 percent.

Latin America and Europe accounted for 26 percent of companies, while 13 percent attracted were from Africa.

The top sector for these SMEs was trade and logistics at 17 percent, followed by IT at 13 percent, and food and agricultural firms third with 10 percent.

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, president and CEO of Dubai Chambers, attributed the rise to the emirate’s business-friendly environment, the ongoing development of services together with favorable legislation, and the diverse range of investment opportunities available.

He added: “Our network of international representative offices in key global markets has effectively promoted Dubai’s business community and highlighted the emirate’s value for companies seeking global expansion.

“We remain dedicated to contributing to the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda, with a primary focus on attracting foreign direct investments in both traditional and emerging sectors.”

The growth in SMEs from across the globe moving to Dubai sits alongside a goal from the emirate’s leadership to see home-grown small businesses expand overseas.

The total number of representative offices across the world operated by the Dubai International Chamber increased by 16 in 2023 and now stands at 31.

This expansion received additional fuel in January when Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed announced a 500 million dirham ($136.16 million) plan to help SMEs tap into global markets.

The initiative was launched in conjunction with Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest lender by market value, and will see the bank provide financing to companies at competitive rates.

According to a release at the time, the SME sector accounts for 60 percent of the workforce in the emirate.

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