More women expected to launch a new business in the UAE this year

The number of women entrepreneurs is expected to grow this year, as conditions for starting up a business in the UAE improve.

Although according to the latest report published by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), men in the MENA region are 2.8 times more likely to start-up a business than women, there are several factors that can help female entrepreneurs to bridge the gap.

  • Study shows 80% of Emirati women are naturally inclined to start up a business
  • Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards to recognise excellence in entrepreneurship and business leadership

Encouraging signs
The total number of business registration and licensing transactions facilitated by the Dubai Economic Department (DED) in 2012 show a hefty 13 percent increase compared to last year, citing improved business climate and business-friendly initiatives as the reason for the growth. In fact, in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business survey, the UAE was ranked 22nd overall compared to 46 in 2012, and first in the Arab world.

Dubai SME, the DED agency mandated to develop the SME sector, has actively supported and encouraged the participation of women in the sector. “Our compilation of success stories is replete with inspiring achievements of women entrepreneurs who have started businesses and many of them are now flourishing. However, a lot remains to be done and we are continuing to develop new initiatives that encourage more individuals to start their business,” said His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai SME.

“There have also been a growing number of private sector initiatives that provide mentorship and support for aspiring entrepreneurs,” said Becky Crayman, Head of Awards, Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards, which honoured a female entrepreneur – NStyle’s Lama Bazzari, as the Business Leader of the Year during its inaugural staging last year.

Along with the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards, a digital community for SMEs was also set up last year – SMEinfo.me - to help create an enabling environment for aspiring start-ups and small and medium sized businesses to thrive – an initiative that is also supported by Dubai SME.

The Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards offer shortlisted and winning businesses the added support of brand awareness and media recognition, something that cannot be underestimated in helping entrepreneurs to market their initiatives.

Another factor that could lead to the increase in number of women entrepreneurs is the fact that, according to the latest GEM report on the UAE, 80% of Emirati women are ‘nascent entrepreneurs’. “This means woman are natural entrepreneurs. They can easily start an enterprise given the right intervention and support – such as education, mentorship, and access to capital,” Crayman added.

Recognising excellence
Now in its second year, the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards 2013 will recognise outstanding businesses, entrepreneurs and business leaders in 11 categories. Joining hands with Awards in recognising entrepreneurial excellence in the UAE are Gulf Capital, headline and category sponsor for the Gulf Capital Business of the Year award; as well as MasterCard, the category sponsor for MasterCard Small Business of the Year; and RSA, category sponsor for the RSA Start-up Business of the Year.

The other award categories include Emirati Business of the Year, Online Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, Sustainable Initiative of the Year, Customer Focus of the Year, Business Innovation of the Year and People & Culture of the Year.

The Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards will begin accepting nominations in April with the deadline for entries set on 14 June 2013. Entrants must hold a valid trade license in the UAE, have been trading for two years (except for the RSA Start-up Business of the Year), have a turnover of AED 250 million or less and fewer than 250 employees. Entries will not be accepted from branches of international subsidiaries.

For more information, please visit www.smeinfoawards.com.

Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards 2013 Categories

Gulf Capital Business of the Year
This award is designed to identify the UAE-based Business that can show evidence of maintaining consistent growth and strong financial performance. The Winner will have demonstrated how it is delivering its company vision and mission. Entrants for this award must show how they have been successful in delivering key goals, competitor advantage, growth and innovation. Judges will also look for excellent customer service, future growth plan, how the business is developing its employees and the leadership of the business.

MasterCard Small Business of the Year
This award is designed to identify the UAE-based Business that can show evidence of maintaining consistent growth and strong financial performance. The Winner will have demonstrated how it is delivering its company vision and mission. Entrants for this award must show how they have been successful in delivering key goals, competitor advantage, growth and innovation. Judges will also look for excellent customer service, future growth plan, how the business is developing its employees and the leadership of the business.

RSA Start-up Business of the Year
This award is designed to identify the UAE-based Start-up Business that can show evidence of how the business has put in place the foundations and strong plan for future growth. The Winner will have demonstrated how it has created and is delivering its company vision and mission. Examples of how the business concept, services and products have been developed must be demonstrated and how the business has communicated with its customer base. Entry for this Award is open to businesses trading for 2 years or less.
Emirati Business of the Year

This award is designed to identify the Emirati-owned and UAE-based Business that can show evidence of maintaining consistent growth and strong financial performance. The Winner will have demonstrated how it is delivering its company vision and mission. Entrants for this award must show how they have been successful in delivering key goals, competitor advantage, growth and innovation. Judges will also look for excellent customer service, future growth plan, how the business is developing its employees and the leadership of the business.

Online Business of the Year
Open to any UAE business trading online, this award will go to the candidate that can best demonstrate consistent growth and strong financial performance from e-commerce. Judges will look for evidence of concept and product development, exceptional implementation, customer engagement & functionality and innovation. Entrants for this award must show how they have been successful in delivering key goals, competitor advantage, growth and innovation. Judges will also look for excellent customer service, future growth plan, how the business is developing its employees and the leadership of the business.

Entrepreneur of the Year
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award will recognise the most inspiring, dynamic and driven leader. Entrants must show how they have overcome challenges to grow their successful business and how they have achieved this through passion, commitment, innovation, market knowledge, innovation and inspiring and motivating their Team.

Business Leader of the Year
The Business Leader of the Year Award recognises the outstanding leadership of SMEs in the UAE. The Judges will look for the Leader who can demonstrate examples of excellent business leadership in empowering his/her employees, leadership approach, a successful existing and future growth plan and how his/her successful leadership has had a direct result on the success of their business.

Sustainable Initiative of the Year

This award will go to the organisation that can best demonstrate the successful adoption of a sustainable initiative. Entrants will need to provide examples of policies or projects that positively impact on society, the environment and the economy. Judges will look for evidence of how a sustainable initiative has improved one or more of the following areas; customer perception, staff engagement, commercial performance and competitiveness.

Customer Focus of the Year

This important Award recognises organisations that truly have the customer at the centre of their business - the winning business for this Category will show how they have built their business plan with their customers at the core, in terms of developing new services/products and revenue streams according to their customers' needs. The Judges will look for exemplary customer service examples and outstanding communication with customers.

Business Innovation of the Year
This Award recognises innovations in any part of the business. The submitted innovation could be a product, service, project or initiative in any department, e.g. customer service, marketing, PR, technology implementation, new product concepts. Entrants must be able to show evidence of how the innovation has impacted the business and created competitive advantage in their field.

People & Culture of the Year
This Award will go to the organisation that can best demonstrate how the business has created a positive working environment and invested in developing its people. The Entrant for this Award must be able to show how it focuses on motivating its Team, engaging its Team in the company's values and how this has impacted the business' commercial performance and competitive advantage.

The Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards Programme recognises success, growth & innovation in business. It provides a platform for SMEs to raise their profile, brands, products & services.