UAE small business finalists announced

20 August 2014

Finalists enjoyed a combined turnover of AED1.6bn and an average growth rate of 134 per cent in 2013

Gulf Capital SME Awards has revealed the finalists of its 2014 edition, with businesses in the service and technology sectors emerging as the strongest contenders for the awards in various categories. The awards are organised by MEED, which partnered with Gulf Capital three years ago as the headline sponsor to launch the programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE.

Other business sectors represented include trading, retail, construction, communication, finance and education.

This year’s finalists reported a combined turnover of AED1.6bn ($435.6m) and an average growth rate of 134 per cent last year, indicating another robust performance from the SME sector in the UAE. With more than 90 per cent of total businesses in the country belonging to the small and medium-sized category, growth indications not only mean increased business activity and greater contribution to GDP, but also potentially thousands of additional employment opportunities.

“This is the strongest performance we have seen from technology-focused and service-oriented SMEs in the three-year history of the awards, and is a great indication that the UAE is proving to be a vibrant breeding ground for nurturing small businesses and entrepreneurs in these sectors,” says Becky Crayman, head of awards at MEED, organisers of the annual business recognition programme.

The finalists in the Gulf Capital Business of the Year category are:

  • CommIT
  • DABO & Co
  • German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai
  • Intelligent Business Technologies (IBT)
  • Skipper t&d JLT
  • SweetBeam
  • The Box Self Storage Service.

“The growth in the number of entrants this year – an increase of 6 per cent compared with the previous edition – shows the award programme’s steadily growing reputation as a highly sought after recognition scheme for SMEs,” says Dr Karim el-Solh, CEO at Gulf Capital. The company is one of the leading alternative investment firms in the Middle East and headline sponsor of the annual Gulf Capital SME Awards.

“This year’s finalists’ have shown remarkable progress, as evidenced by their strong turnover performance,” El-Solh adds. “Beyond the numbers, what makes this year’s batch impressive is the strong emphasis on innovation as a key foundation for achieving long-term growth, as well as their determined effort to efficiently manage their resources to support growth plans. We wish the finalists the best of luck, and congratulate them for having gone this far in the selection process.”

The Emirati Business of the Year category received an overwhelming number of entrants; boosted by the government’s broadening support for nationals.

This year’s finalists, which number one more than last year’s entrants, are:

  • Ajyaal Media
  • Al-Wegdaniyah Transport Solutions
  • Cafe2Go
  • Centre for Musical Arts
  • Corporate Business Services
  • DGT
  • Wrapt.

Meanwhile, shortlisted SMEs in the MasterCard Small Business of the Year category are:

  • CommIT
  • Intelligent Business Technologies (IBT)
  • DABO & Co
  • Elevision Media
  • Hit the Deals
  • Senses Salon
  • The Box Self Storage Service

Among start-up businesses the following emerged as finalists in the RSA Start-up Business of the Year category:

  • Ace Marine Construction Contracting
  • Mini Exchange
  • Star Global
  • The Camel Factory
  • The Talent Enterprise

Web-based SMEs shortlisted for the Online Business of the Year award are:

  • Doctoruna
  • MaidCV.com
  • Mini Exchange
  • My Ex Wardrobe
  • Supermart.ae
  • XpertLearning

MEED’s annual SME awards programme also honours impressive performance in key operational aspects, such as innovation, customer service, employee-oriented initiatives, organisational culture and sustainability practices.

In the Business Innovation of the Year category the following emerged as this year’s finalists:

  • Aptus Telecom
  • Doctoruna
  • German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai
  • Innovative HR Solutions
  • Mini Exchange
  • SweetBeam
  • Q2 General Cleaning Services
  • BizX Trading

SMEs that showed successful customer-driven initiatives will be recognised with the Customer Focus of the Year awards. Those shortlisted in this category are:

  • Fame Lifestyle
  • Fun Science Recreational Services
  • German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai
  • Nahar Building Materials
  • Protraining
  • Senses Salon
  • The Box Self Storage Service
  • Workz Media

Finalists in the DHL People and Culture of the Year category, which recognises the SME that has created a positive working environment and invested in developing its people, are:

  • Centre for Musical Arts
  • DABO & Co
  • German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai
  • Innovative HR Solutions
  • RedFilo Events
  • Summertown Interiors
  • SweetBeam

SMEs with proven sustainability practices that made it to the shortlist of the Sustainable Business of the Year category are:

  • Centre for Musical Arts
  • Dubai Desert Extreme (DDE)
  • German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai
  • My Ex Wardrobe
  • Q2 General Cleaning Services
  • Queen B
  • Summertown Interiors

The Gulf Capital SME Awards also recognise outstanding individual entrepreneurs and business leaders. This year, the Entrepreneur of the Year category recorded the biggest jump in terms of number of finalists with 10, an increase of four compared with the previous year. The finalists are:

  • Aly Rahimtoola Managing Partner, Herbline Essentials
  • Camilla and Lucy D’Abo Managing Partners, DABO & Co
  • Dr Sassan Dieter Khatib-Shahidi CEO, German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai
  • Heidar Djoyaeian Managing Founder, Supermart.ae
  • Ibrahim bin Shaheen CEO, DGT
  • Jai Mulani CEO, Intelligent Business Technologies (IBT)
  • Patricia O’Sullivan Founder, Protraining
  • Shahriar Khodjasteh CEO, Dubai Desert Extreme (DDE)
  • Shailesh Dash CEO, Al-Masah Capital
  • Wadih Haddad CEO, The Box Self Storage Service

Dr Khatib-Shahidi, Bin Shaheen, Mulani, Khodjasteh, Dash and Haddad have also been shortlisted in the Business Leader of the Year category, along with Sanjay Bansal, CEO of Intex Technologies.

The 79 finalists across the 11 categories of the Gulf Capital SME Awards will next go through a face to face judging session, where they will make a presentation on their businesses before the awards panel of judges. Winners will then be announced on October 29, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton, JBR, Dubai. For information and updates on the awards, please visit www.meedsmeawards.com.

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