DED supports inaugural Smart SMB Summit to promote digital transformation across business

Region's digital transformation leaders receive awards at the Summit held in Dubai

DED supports inaugural Smart SMB Summit to promote digital transformation across business

Dubai: The inaugural edition of the Smart SMB Summit & Awards, supported by the Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai, was held today with business leaders and technology experts throwing light on the importance of Digital and Business transformation for small and mid-sized enterprises. A seminal platform for mid-market C-level executives, the event brought together a stellar cast of speakers who are domain experts in various aspects of digital transformation.

Mohammed Abdullah Shael Al Saadi, CEO, Corporate Affairs and Strategy sector, DED remarked that the event was held at the appropriate time to help accelerate the message of digital transformation, which is in line with the mandate and the vision of the Dubai leadership towards adopting leading edge technologies that can help transform societies for the better.

“The Department of Economic Development supports such farsighted events and the insights from the ensemble of experts who delivered keynotes and spoke across panel discussions will definitely enrich the understanding of our mid-market enterprises about what digital transformation in true effect means as a business strategy for them,” Al Saadi added.

The half-day Summit brought to focus new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and even bio implants across a series of keynotes and multiple panel discussions including one specifically addressing women empowerment in the digital age.

Hani Al Hamli, Secretary General of the Dubai Competitiveness Office in DED set the tone for the discussions at the event with a keynote on ‘Digital Transformation for SMB organisations.’ Referring to Dubai’s bid to take its businesses past a milestone in digital transformation, Al Hamli said the question is whether local SMBs are prepared to adapt to global technology changes.

“SMBs are growing fast and spreading their wings, diversifying the economy and contributing significantly to the GDP and labour force. Supporting these businesses to be digital and more sophisticated would therefore secure efficiency; boost decision making; improve customer satisfaction and profitability, and thus secure sustainability,” Al Hamli concluded. 

Al Hamli was followed by Jowan Österlund, CEO of Sweden-based BIOHAX who spoke on Business Transformation with Bio implants, Shant Oknayan, Regional Business Lead at facebook & Instagram whose keynote was on ‘Future proofing your business via digital platforms,’ and Ali Shabdar, Evangelist at Soho Corporation who shared his insights on ‘Is Cloud a game changer for the SMB segment?’

The event also featured an elaborate and exclusive exhibition zone that showcased exciting and pioneering technologies, including a VR zone, robots and other innovations, which are ready for adoption.

Ankit Shukla, MD of QNA Marcom and Smart SMB, who are the organisers of the event said: “Dubai as a pioneer in adopting new technologies stand out among the world’s leading cities. We are therefore quite happy to have the support of the Dubai Department of Economic Development in staging this unique event that intends to encourage the dialogue around digital and business transformation enhancing the awareness among mid-market companies. After all, it is the mid-market that is likely to benefit the most by adopting these new technologies which will enable them to compete better in the global marketplace.”

Saumyadeep Halder, CEO & Co-founder, The Bridge Events, co-organisers of the Smart SMB Summit, added: “We want to create a strong SMB family where everyone is well connected to each other and this is just a small step towards achieving that goal. Events like this bridge the gap between the government and the private sector. Private sector learns about the government’s visions and plans and simultaneously it gives a chance for the government also to connect with the private sector”.

Outstanding achievements in driving and adopting digital transformation regionally were recognised at the Smart SMB Awards ceremony held towards the end of the Summit. The awards were based on nominations and winners were chosen by jury.

The winners included: Zulekha Hospital - Best digital transformation deployment in Healthcare;  Mycloud - Best digital transformation deployment in Hospitality; Delphi Private School (DPS) - Best digital transformation deployment in Education; Al Safeer Group - Best digital transformation deployment in Retail; Dolphin Group - Best digital transformation deployment in Manufacturing; Al Masah Capital Management - Best digital transformation deployment in Banking Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI); Wego - Best digital transformation deployment in Travel; WannaGo - Cloud Computing Solutions Provider of the Year; Apla - Blockchain Solutions Provider of the Year; Redington Gulf - Regional Cloud Value Added Distributors (VAD) of the Year; Arrow - VAD of the Year with Best digital transformation initiatives; Bulwark - Regional VAD of the Year in mid-market/SMB segments; PTC – Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions Vendor of the Year.

SAP - Blockchain Solutions Vendor of the Year; Dell EMC - Cloud Computing Solutions Vendor of the Year; Sonicwall - Security Solutions Vendor of the Year; D-Link - Best commitment to SMB/Mid-market segments; Cisco - Networking Transformation Vendor of the Year; Aruba - Digital Workplace Vendor of the Year; Ali Kassab, Centurion - CEO of the Year (leadership in driving digital transformation); Prasoon Kumar, Al Safeer group - CIO of the Year (for execution of digital transformation), Tayfun Topkoc, Beea’h - CDO of the Year (for innovations in transformation strategies); Telr (Digital Innovations in Client Services (Maximum services available for clients digitally with innovative features); Dubai Economy - Easy set-up services for SMB (Quick turnaround, cost competitiveness, Simplicity in processes, Client servicing and support, Digital services); Isra Abulawi, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi - CISO of the Year (for ensuring secure digital transformation.

  • Narayan, Editor in Chief of Smart SMB Magazine, commented, “These awards have been instituted to recognize the pioneering deployments done as part of digital transformation initiatives. While we applaud the pioneers who have moved boldly towards digital enablement of their Businesses, these are also outstanding examples to inspire more mid-market businesses to adopt digital transformation as a necessary strategy to compete better.”


About the Department of Economic Development, Dubai

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the government body entrusted to set and drive the economic agenda of the emirate of Dubai, UAE. DED supports the structural transformation of Dubai into a diversified, innovative service-based economy that aims to improve the business environment and accelerate productivity growth. DED and its agencies develop economic plans and policies, identify and support the growth of strategic sectors, and provide services to domestic and international investors and businesses.

For further information on DED, please contact:

Faisal Shamsudheen,

Government Communication Division,

Department of Economic Development, Dubai

Phone: +971 4 445 5927


© Press Release 2018

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