The growth of SME’s in the GCC

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Yousef Hamza, Associate, Envestors MENA
Yousef Hamza, Associate, Envestors MENA

Fueling a large part of the UAE’s national GDP, the growth of small to medium sized enterprises in the country has been phenomenal with many entrepreneurs choosing to set up a business in the country’s unique eco-system. Hermoine Macura reports.

The UAE has made SME’s a priority by developing supporting institutions and consistently changing its laws to better allow for the setting up and operation of SME’s ­– a major contributing factor to the national GDP.

According to Associate, Yousef Hamza from Envestors, a company that has advised over 1000 entrepreneurs on everything from business plans to legal advice, there has always typically been far more SME’s starting up in the UAE than anywhere else. “There is a catalyst to the growth, which isn’t UAE specific but rather a global phenomenon:  There is now an appreciation and understanding of young businesses, and their role in the economy, and an appeal towards individuals starting their own businesses.”

However competition within this unique eco-system remains fierce with around 60 percent of investors rejecting projects in the first thirty minutes. A further 25 percent are rejected within the first three hours. Yousef Hamza, Associate, Envestors MENA explains that it all depends on the management team and how dedicated you are.

“The only thing we look at is the management team.  An amazing idea with a bad management team will fail every time.  An amazing management team, even with a bad idea, could succeed. Also it takes money to make money…..Don’t expect to run your business for free, or have others invest in it if you don’t.”

Yousef Hamza and team during an Investor meet
Yousef Hamza and team during an Investor meet

So what are current rends in the market? Hamza says that many investors are looking for tangible businesses, ones they can touch and feel. There is an appeal to helping something that benefits the greater community we live in and it is especially good if it is an add-on to their already existing businesses in some shape or form.

“People see Dubai as a ‘testing ground’ or ‘spring board’ for their ideas to go internationally, or 8/10 times to ‘expand into the GCC’.  The lowering of barriers, promotion of cross country operations and understanding (or even shared) legislative systems regarding companies would instantly expand a target market of 8 Million to 48 Million…at the end of the day, nothing is more noble than the pursuit of business and the development of the economy of the country which we all live in and love.”

Hermoine Macura is the first Australian female English speaking TV News Anchor in the Middle East, and also one of the area’s most recognized faces. Prior to establishing Straight Street Media in 2012, Hermoine was one of the main Anchor’s on Dubai One TV’s Emirates News. Her first book, FACES OF THE MIDDLE EAST was published in 2010.

Faces of the Middle East by Hermoine Macura
Faces of the Middle East by Hermoine Macura

FACES OF THE MIDDLE EAST is a book that aims to introduce the various ethnic and social groups who reside throughout the Middle East, proof that this part of the world is not, as many in the West mistakenly believe, a monolithic culture.

Neither a definitive story nor a political statement, FACES OF THE MIDDLE EAST, is the culmination of more then seven years of Photojournalism that documents the existence and rich diversity present in the region.

Order a copy online at

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