The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has launched the ‘SME Finance Facilitator’ programme, in partnership with the Emirates Classification Society “Tasneef” and support of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), and leading banks, to improve SMEs access to financial services and enable them to grow further and play a greater role in the sustainable development.
The new initiative is part of ADDED’s ongoing efforts to enhance the business ecosystem for SMEs as a key driver of a vibrant, diversified, and sustainable economy. It is a result of research, analysis, and active engagements with SMEs, financial institutions, and other stakeholders to address challenges facing SMEs.
The ‘SME Finance Facilitator’ programme is designed to improve access to financial services by facilitating the process for opening bank accounts and accessing credit facilities to support working capital needs and long-term growth.
The programme will assign financial facilitators to assist in understanding financial health checks, preparing financial and non-financial requirements, and fostering trust between SMEs and financial institutions, leading to a transparent communication and collaborative credit assessment. Working closely with participating banks, the assigned financial facilitator will also support qualified Abu Dhabi-based SMEs with preferential rates and fees for banking services and products.
SMEs is one of the vital sectors in Abu Dhabi’s economy; it accounts for 98% of businesses, employs 46% of the workforce, and contributes 42.8 % to Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP.
Mrs. Mouza Obaid Al Nasri, Executive Director of SMEs Sector at ADDED, said: “We are forging ahead with our efforts to empower SMEs and enhance their role in the next phase of our diversification strategy by contributing to non-oil GDP, creating new job opportunities in the knowledge-based economy, and increasing exports. To equip SMEs with a conducive business ecosystem to grow and expand, we have conducted thorough research, analysis, and conversations with key stakeholders to identify improvement areas”.
“The ‘SME Finance Facilitator’ programme is a valuable addition to our initiatives as access to finance is a major challenge facing SMEs to grow and enhance their role in Abu Dhabi’s economy. We believe the programme will provide a suitable solution to meet the financing needs of this vital sector, unleash its growth, and bring about extended ripple effects across various economic sectors”.
Mr. Khalfan Al Saadi, General Manager at Tasneef Business Assurance said: “The SME Finance Facilitator programme holds a pivotal role in evaluating, preserving, and overseeing the quality of services offered by Finance Facilitator service providers. Tasneef’s involvement in this programme is a testament to its unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards of business ethics and regulatory compliance”.
“Tasneef, operating as a provider of Business Assurance services within the SME Finance Facilitator Service, recognises the indispensable role of SMEs in propelling economic growth. We stress the significance of expertise, quality, transparency, and punctual service delivery as fundamental pillars for the prosperity of this programme”.
As part of ADDED’s efforts to improve the SME business ecosystem, it has rolled out various initiatives including the recently launched ‘Abu Dhabi SME Champions programme’ to enable SMEs identify and increase their share of procurement opportunities from private large companies and government related entities (GREs).
Abu Dhabi-based SMEs interested to join the programme can access it via Abu Dhabi SME Hub