|23 September, 2018

Dubai Chamber to head working group on SME banking challenges

Panellists reviewed the findings of a recent study conducted by the Dubai Chambe

DUBAI- The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry will head a new working group, which will be responsible for engaging various public and private sector stakeholders and tackling a variety of banking challenges faced by SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs in Dubai.

The announcement of the new working group was among the key recommendations outlined by industry experts who participated in a panel discussion recently held as part of Dubai Startup Hub’s Entrepreneurship Advocacy Series.

The event, hosted at the offices of the Dubai Chamber, was attended by representatives of the UAE Ministry of Economy, leading UAE banks, heads of licensing authorities, local incubators, startups and SMEs. Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is organising the Entrepreneurship Advocacy Series, with the aim of fostering an open and constructive dialogue between various stakeholders, facilitating private-public sector cooperation, and developing practical solutions to existing challenges facing SMEs and startup. During the event, panellists reviewed the findings of a recent study conducted by the Dubai Chamber, in coordination with the UAE Ministry of Economy, the UAE’s Council of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and global consultancy firm Roland Berger, and shared their insights on various issues, including access to finance and banking services, regulatory requirements, and the need for digital solutions. The process of opening a bank account was highlighted as an area that needs improvement, as panellists noted that it can take up to three months for SMEs and startups to set up a bank account. Required procedures were described as complicated and lengthy, while the need for better guidance from banks was noted. Regulatory pressures and strict standards were identified as the main factors that have limited progress in these areas, while other customer segments are often seen by industry players as more commercially attractive than SMEs and startups.

Regarding the initiatives, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said, "The Ministry of Economy and the SME Council support all creative and entrepreneurship initiatives, such as the Dubai Startup Hub and its new Entrepreneurship Advocacy series and publications. The UAE continues to offer outstanding opportunities for entrepreneurship and international partnerships in all economic sectors, due to its highly attractive business environment. I encourage entrepreneurs and SMEs to explore cooperation with each other and focus on innovative projects and technologies that serve the key economic sectors, as part of the UAE innovation strategy."

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