Dubai’s $136 Million Initiative: Fueling Global Growth for SMEs


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In a strategic move aimed at fortifying its position as a global economic powerhouse, Dubai has recently launched the Dubai International Growth Initiative—a Dh500 million ($136 million) initiative spearheaded by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Developed in collaboration with Emirates NBD, the initiative is designed to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Dubai, enabling them to expand their footprint both regionally and globally.


This ambitious plan is part of Dubai’s broader economic agenda, known as D33, which seeks to double the size of the emirate’s economy. In this blog post, we will delve into the key components of this initiative, its significance for SMEs, and the broader implications for Dubai’s economic landscape.

Empowering SMEs for Global Expansion:

The Dubai International Growth Initiative stands as a testament to Dubai’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment that attracts both local and global investments. Recognizing the pivotal role that SMEs play in sustaining Dubai’s status as a commercial, financial, and tourism hub in the Middle East, Sheikh Hamdan emphasizes the importance of consistent and robust support for entrepreneurs. More than 90 percent of registered businesses in the UAE fall under the SME category, offering the majority of job opportunities in the country. Dubai’s latest initiative is open to all SMEs founded in the emirate, regardless of the owner’s nationality, showcasing a commitment to inclusivity and diversity.

Strategic Sectors and Financing Support:

To ensure the success of the initiative, the government of Dubai, in collaboration with Emirates NBD, will establish a joint steering committee. This committee will play a pivotal role in guiding the initiative, selecting eligible SMEs, overseeing implementation, and ensuring alignment with the emirate’s strategic objectives. The focus will be on “strategic sectors” of the economy, a term that implies a targeted approach to industries that hold significant potential for growth and global impact.

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest lender by market value, will be at the forefront of providing financial support to eligible companies. The financing program will offer competitive rates, charging only the Emirates’ Interbank Offered Rate (Eibor) with no additional margin. This move not only facilitates access to funding for SMEs but also underscores the commitment to offering favorable conditions for their growth. Further details of the financing program are expected to be announced next month, creating anticipation among SMEs eager to leverage this opportunity.

Government Commitment and Economic Impact:

The launch of the Dubai International Growth Initiative aligns with the broader D33 Agenda, emphasizing the government’s commitment to facilitating the sustainable global expansion of SMEs. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, highlights the pivotal role these businesses play, employing over 60 percent of the workforce in the emirate. This initiative comes at a time when Dubai has maintained growth momentum, with its economy expanding by an annual 3.3 percent in the first nine months of the previous year.

The sectors driving Dubai’s economic growth include transport, trade, financial services, accommodation and food services, property, information and communication, and manufacturing. These sectors are likely to benefit significantly from the Dubai International Growth Initiative, as it injects capital and support directly into businesses operating within these realms. As Dubai continues to bounce back from the pandemic-driven slowdown, this initiative serves as a catalyst for sustained economic growth.


In conclusion, Dubai’s $136 million initiative is a bold step toward bolstering the global presence of SMEs and solidifying the emirate’s standing as a dynamic economic force. By providing financial support, focusing on strategic sectors, and involving key stakeholders through a joint steering committee, the government of Dubai is sending a strong signal of its commitment to economic diversification and sustainable growth. As details of the financing program unfold in the coming month, SMEs in Dubai eagerly anticipate the opportunities that will arise, paving the way for a new era of international expansion and economic prosperity. The Dubai International Growth Initiative is not merely a financial injection but a strategic investment in the future of Dubai’s economy, with potential ripple effects that extend far beyond its borders.

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