Dubai – MENA Herald: Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai SME and Tejari, the strategic procurement company, have signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will broaden access for thousands of SMEs in the emirate to tender opportunities for the AED 25 billion mega-event.

SMEs currently contribute 42% towards Dubai’s total employment and generate 40% of gross value added, according to Dubai SME. As a result of the MoU, businesses registered with Dubai SME will now be automatically enrolled as potential suppliers to Expo 2020 Dubai. The move forms part of ongoing initiatives aimed at encouraging participation by SMEs in the delivery of Expo Dubai 2020 and creating a positive impact on the UAE economy that extends beyond 2020. Hosting the mega-event is expected to generate a gross value add of AED 71 billion.

Her Excellency Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation and Director–General Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, welcomed the MoU, saying, “SMEs are major economic drivers and provide an important contribution to Dubai’s evolution as a Smart City. By uniting with Dubai SME and Tejari, we are further extending our support to this critical business community, enabling SMEs to play a greater part in the delivery and legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai. We look forward to working with them to developing a truly inclusive, SME-friendly Expo, with a sustainable economic legacy.”

In April 2015, Expo 2020 Dubai launched its vendor registration and pre-qualification eSourcing Portal, which links all Expo-related procurement operations and enables the rapid deployment of tender opportunities to the local and global business community in an open and transparent fashion.

Of the 4,633 companies currently registered on the Expo 2020 Dubai eSourcing Portal, 32.7% are SMEs. As part of the MoU, Tejari, a leading UAE provider of electronic contract systems, will integrate Dubai SME’s 3,500 member companies into the Expo 2020 Dubai e-Sourcing Portal database. All registered members will be automatically integrated and will be able to participate in the delivery of the World Expo through project tenders.

Dubai SME is an agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) established to foster the development of entrepreneurs, encourage and support UAE nationals to actively participate in the economic growth of Dubai, and facilitate the establishment of small and medium enterprises.

His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, stated, “This initiative comes in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to evolve Dubai into the smartest city in the world. We at Dubai SME seek to cooperate and coordinate with the public sector, both at the federal and local levels, and the private sector to enhance business competitiveness and support entrepreneurs in the run up of the largest event regionally. We also look to coordinate by linking electronic databases to ensure members details are up to date and are easily accessible on Expo’s eSourcing portal. This agreement will also allow us to support our members and to provide them with access to the best tender opportunities.”

Al Janahi added, “Dubai SME regularly updates the database of Expo members who are registered on its electronic portal. Through this strategic initiative, we seek to implement the emirate’s strategy to increase the contribution of SMEs to the non-oil GDP, as well as improve the UAE’s position in the ease of doing business index and the global index for entrepreneurship and development, in line with Dubai 2021 Vision. This agreement will also help promote the SME sector which represents 95% of all companies in Dubai and 42% of the total labour force.”

His Excellency Marwan Al Naqi, Chairman of Tejari, said; “The UAE actively seeks to promote cultural exchange with other countries, to strengthen international relationships and enhance mutual understanding amongst nations from around the world. It is also a successful and inspiring model of one of the first governments to adopt the latest technologies to create a modern environment and support its rapid development. We at Tejari are very pleased to cooperate with Expo 2020 Dubai, which is expected to help shape the future and build on existing efforts to highlight the UAE as a global destination that brings together people, organisations and innovations from around the world.”

He added, “We truly believe in the important role the SME sector plays in supporting the development of the UAE and contributing to its economic diversification plans. As Expo 2020 Dubai will provide SMEs the opportunity to be part of the preparation for this significant event, we will help by assisting these SMEs in the qualification process and by adding them on Expo’s procurement portal which is run on our Tejari system.”

Expo 2020, as part of an ongoing programme aimed at engaging SMEs in the delivery of the World Expo, is working with Wamda to bring the concept of Collaborative Entrepreneurship to the region. In May 2016, more than 400 representatives from multinationals, corporations and startups gathered at the Collaborative Entrepreneurship Summit, hosted by Expo 2020 and Wamda. The Summit explored the potential of Collaborative Entrepreneurship, to nurture greater synergies between established corporations and startups and stimulate meaningful partnerships to unleash value and enable growth, as part of Expo’s legacy.

Through its regular workshop series, BusinessConnect, Expo 2020 Dubai engages the local and international business community in the lead-up to the mega-event by facilitating dialogue, sharing expertise, and enabling the development of recommendations around key delivery areas for the landmark event. Registration on the Expo 2020 Dubai e-Sourcing portal is free of charge and open to all SMEs at http://esource.expo2020dubai.ae.