The Ministry of Economy and Cisco have launched a digitisation initiative as part of the “Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0” programme, aimed at boosting the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE. The ‘Scale Up track’ of the initiative offers SMEs the opportunity to participate in the “Cisco Product Innovation Lab” and benefit from Cisco's digital and smart solutions. The ‘Skill Up’ track, titled “Cisco Expert Insights”, leverages Cisco's expertise in digital innovation, business development, sales, leadership, and marketing to support the growth of SMEs.

Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said that the UAE, thanks to the vision and directives of the wise leadership, has placed great importance on the development of businesses, as they are a key driver in supporting the country’s efforts to transition towards a new economic model based on knowledge, innovation, and sustainability. In line with the country’s outlook for the next 50 years, SMEs are well-placed for further growth and expansion.

He added, “We recognise the importance of partnerships between the private and public sectors as they are crucial in providing more opportunities and supporting SMEs in executing their business operations. Our collaboration with Cisco signifies our ongoing commitment in this direction, as we seek to build the digital capabilities of growing businesses and in turn, consolidate the UAE’s position as a global destination for entrepreneurship.”

Abdelilah Nejjari, Managing Director for the Gulf Region at Cisco, expressed that the UAE has placed great importance on becoming one of the most prosperous nations and a global hub for entrepreneurship. This digital initiative aligns with the government's efforts and supports the growth of SMEs on a local and global scale. Empowering SMEs in the UAE is one of the main pillars of Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration programme, which aims to unlock the value of digitisation in the country and accelerate the development of the nation's digital economy.

The Ministry of Economy has announced the eligibility criteria for SMEs to enroll in the "Product Innovation Lab" and "Cisco Expert Insights" programmes as part of the Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0 initiative. The Lab programme requires companies to be registered in the UAE, employ between 10 and 250 employees, operate in the IT or programming industries, and have a specialised software team. The ministry will select 15 companies to participate in training courses, joint workspaces, mentoring workshops, and benefit from Cisco's digital laboratory and advanced platforms. The Experts Insights programme requires companies to be registered in the UAE and employ a minimum of five employees. Participants will have access to Cisco's Digital Transformation Center in Dubai and the company's expertise in technology, providing new opportunities for transformation and team empowerment.

Interested SMEs can apply for the Product Innovation Lab programme through this link: For the Cisco Experts Insights programme, SMEs can register through this link: The Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0 initiative aims to provide more opportunities for startups and SMEs to grow and expand globally, with the help of partnerships and collaborations with public and private sector partners, such as business incubators and funds, commerce chambers, and local and global companies and organizations. The programme is part of the UAE's efforts to transition towards a new economic model based on knowledge, innovation, and sustainability.