Ministry of Economy organizes ‘National Forum for SMEs - Government Procurement’ forum - Middle East News 247
July 20, 2024

Ministry of Economy organizes ‘National Forum for SMEs – Government Procurement’ forum

The Ministry of Economy (MoEc) organized a forum titled ‘National Forum for SMEs – Government Procurement’ to help Emirati entrepreneurs maximize their benefit from tenders and contracts offered by federal entities and local companies. The forum was held with an aim to enhance their chances of winning these contracts, raise awareness on the importance of government procurement, and highlight its crucial role in boosting the national economy. The event, which was attended by H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, saw the participation of over 80 federal entities, local companies, and a large number of Emirati SME-owners.

H.E Bin Touq said that the UAE, under the guidance of its wise leadership, has placed significant emphasis on advancing the SMEs sector considering it as a key driver of national economic growth. The government ensures ample opportunities and resources for nurturing this vital sector, which now has a direct and effective impact on the UAE’s economic development journey.

H.E. said: “The SMEs in the local market are currently active in all key economic sectors that support the country’s shift towards a new knowledge-based economic model. These sectors include FinTech, innovation, AI, digital transformation, manufacturing, healthcare, smart mobility, tourism, and creative industries. Today, SMEs make up 95 per cent of all businesses in the country and employ around 86 per cent of the private sector workforce.”

 “The forum serves as a national platform that reflects the UAE’s vision to empower Emirati entrepreneurs to embrace innovation and boost their role in the national economy, while also enhancing their competitiveness at global and regional levels. This event has brought together the largest number of federal entities and local companies offering tenders and government procurement contracts to Emirati SME-owners, encouraging them to fully capitalize on these opportunities in the near future,” he added.

The Minister of Economy continued: “Over the past three years, the Ministry of Economy has worked diligently to support Emirati entrepreneurs across different economic sectors. The Ministry introduced various initiatives to boost the growth of Emirati SMEs, aid their expansion into international markets, and facilitate their access to financing and investments, equipping them with necessary resources and tools for success and continuity. These efforts aim to establish the UAE as a prime hub for entrepreneurship and startups, in line with the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision.”

In addition, H.E. explained that one of the most outstanding initiatives in this regard is the ‘National Program for SMEs,’ established under Federal Law No. 2 of 2014 on SMEs. The program has offered over 25 services and incentives to projects initiated by Emirati entrepreneurs through partnerships with both governmental and private sectors. Over 5,000 members have already benefitted from the program and efforts are underway to increase this number by introducing new services and incentives. Additionally, support will be extended to over 600 SMEs through “The Entrepreneurial Nation’ project, and the launch of the ‘Future100’ initiative aimed at supporting the UAE’s vision to develop a knowledge-based economy.

During his participation in the forum, H.E. Bin Touq conducted an inspection tour of the venue reviewing tenders and contracts offered by federal entities and national companies. In addition, H.E. held a meeting with the event partners that include participating entities.

The forum represents a significant opportunity to raise federal entities and national companies’ awareness on the importance of procurements in driving the growth of the national economy. Additionally, it helps facilitate participation of owners of national SMEs in government tenders slated to be released this year. Furthermore, the event facilitates direct communication between contract-awarding bodies and Emirati entrepreneurs in order to identify challenges faced by both parties and address them. It also enhances dialogue with financing bodies to leverage their product offerings to support government procurement efforts,” said H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy.

The Undersecretary added: “The forum enhances the Government Procurements for Local SMEs performance indicator launched by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance in June of last year to gauge the level of commitment by federal entities to allocate a specific percentage as mandated by Federal Law no. 2 of 2014 on SMEs. It stipulates that 10 per cent of the total value of contracts and tenders must be allocated for members of the National Program for SMEs. The limit is five percent for government companies where the federal government holds 25% or more of the shares.”

In his speech at the forum, H.E. urged Emirati entrepreneurs to join the National Program for SMEs and benefit from the advantages it offers. H.E. noted that this move would contribute to the growth of their businesses and enhance their participation in government procurement.

The forum showcased contracts and tenders from over 30 federal entities and national companies, totaling more than AED 2.3 billion in value, available for small and medium enterprises. These entities utilized digital platforms to present the terms of the tenders and contracts directly to Emirati entrepreneurs and forum attendees, offering them guidance and support. Additionally, various initiatives supporting Emirati SME-owners were introduced during the event. The forum also featured seven diverse dialogue sessions with a total of 26 speakers participating in discussions.

The first session titled ‘Policies, legislation and initiatives to support SMEs’ showcased a number of objectives outlined in Federal Law no. 2 of 2014 concerning SMEs. It emphasized their role in driving the growth of Emirati SMEs, while also exploring the means to further cooperation and forge partnerships between relevant government entities. The session was attended by H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy; and H.E. Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of Ministry of Finance.

The second session, titled ‘Inspiring stories in the world of government tenders’ highlighted a collection of success stories from owners of national SMEs. Attendees had the opportunity to hear about the challenges and obstacles that these entrepreneurs encountered while securing bids and tenders from government entities, along with the strategies they employed to overcome them. The session highlighted the tools these entrepreneurs relied on to enhance their prospects of obtaining these tenders.

The third session, titled ‘From legislation to implementation: Policies and practices of supporting SMEs,’ explored the Ministry of Economy’s role in supporting Emirati entrepreneurs. It showcased the action plan developed to achieve the objectives of the Government Procurements for Local SMEs performance indicator. Additionally, the session highlighted the Ministry of Finance’s role in providing special benefits and financial exemptions to national SMEs.

The next session titled ‘Enhancing opportunities and possibilities in government procurement’ presented a range of tender and contract opportunities related to government procurement offered by federal entities and national companies. Emirati entrepreneurs had the chance to familiarize themselves with these opportunities, thereby improving their readiness to pursue and potentially secure these contracts. The session raised awareness among entrepreneurs about the competitive nature of the procurement process and provided insights into the application process for government tenders. Additionally, attendees received valuable information about the federal supplier register system and important tips about the registration process and completing tender documentation effectively.

The fifth session titled ‘Government initiatives to support national SMEs’ examined a range of initiatives provided by federal entities to support projects led by Emirati entrepreneurs. These include the National Program for SMEs and projects, the Digital Procurement Platform, as well as the ‘Hawafez’ Program and the In-Country Value (ICV) program.

Yet another session, titled ‘How local government entities support national SMEs,’ discussed the support provided by local government entities to SMEs. Participants had the opportunity to explore government procurement programs in the UAE, along with the latest initiatives, partnerships, and the outcomes achieved in supporting national projects.

Finally, the last session titled ‘How to become a professional supplier to government agencies’ underscored the significance of establishing strategic relationships between Emirati SMEs and government officials. The objective was to promote the products and services offered by their companies and leverage the support services provided by their respective entities. The discussion emphasized the importance of adhering to government entities’ procurements systems and laws.

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