SMEs a key focus for Dubai Expo

Expo official: UAE’s successful bid for World Expo was the SME bid

Construction in progress at the Expo 2020 site. So far, around 18,000 companies from 130 countries have registered for Expo, around 70 per cent of them SMEs.

DUBAI: Expo 2020 Dubai’s three key themes are mobility, sustainability and opportunity. Tied in to all three of those are its emphasis on supporting start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

In addition to Expo’s commitment to support fledgling start-ups worldwide through its ExpoLive project, and its commitment to allocate at least 20 per cent of its Dh25 billion spend to SMEs, the organisation has looked specifically at how to incorporate small businesses into the mega-event.

Manal Al Bayat, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Senior Vice-President for Business Development and Integration, takes that emphasis seriously. She’s spent a good part of the last few months travelling around the world making SMEs aware of the possibilities Expo offers and helping them gear up to take part.

“SMEs are the drivers and the lifelines to a lot of economies,” she said. “Even in terms of job creation and the largest employers, they’re the lifeline not just in the UAE — a lot of economies around the world rely on SMEs. And the greater the support we can provide is going to enable them to get bigger.

“If you look at the whole value chain, the larger corporates need the SMEs to be able to subcontract to to deliver certain components, and when those SMEs, the small become the medium the medium become the large, you will need more SMEs. You need the continuity. You need to make sure that you’re building a value chain that’s going to be solid moving into the future. More info

By Andrew Staples, Chief Business Reporter