There are over 300,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), accounting for 92% of businesses. SMEs contribute 60% to the country’s non-oil GDP, and are responsible for 86% of total employment in the private sector. Government analysts predict that by 2021, SMEs will account for 70% of the country’s GDP. Indeed, the overall goal of the UAE government is to boost the country’s rate of SME contribution to the non-oil economy from a 60% share of GDP to 70%.
The UAE government is committed to growing the SME sector in the country, as entrepreneurship and SMEs are a key component to the country’s economy. SMEs are leading economic growth and job creation in the UAE today, accounting for more than 42% of its workforce. While there are legal and political decisions that are made about SMEs at the federal level, much of the support of SMEs is left up to the individual emirates, which have been largely successful in promoting entrepreneurship across the country, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.