British lender HSBC has announced the launch of an international growth fund worth Dhs1 billion to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UAE targeting international expansion.
The fund will be open to firms that have an annual turnover of Dhs30 million and above.
“SMEs are critical to the UAE economy,” said Abdulfattah Sharaf, chief executive officer of HSBC Bank Middle East.
“They represent 95 per cent of the total enterprises population in the UAE and contribute to 40 per cent of total UAE GDP.We will continue to work extensively with relevant government authorities, freezones and key working groups to ensure that the segment flourishes and grows.”
Confidence among UAE SMEs about a potential rise in trade volumes over the next six months is strong, the bank said.
According to HSBC’s Trade Conference Index report, the UAE SMEs are the second most confident businesses in this regard globally. Around 30 per cent of the SMEs preferred intra-regional trade while the UAE-China trade corridor was the second most favoured, the index said.
SMEs originating in the UAE have been targeting strong international expansion and have managed to attract investors.
The Entertainer, a consumer boutique services company offering two-for-one discount vouchers, expanded into Asia after investor Abraaj Capital acquired a 50 per cent stake in the company earlier this year.
Online fashion retailer Namshi has been increasing its regional footprint following a $13 million investment from Summit Partners in May this year.
“It is clear that businesses, large and small, are positioning themselves to make the most of international opportunities – taking advantage of international trading corridors – in order to grow and succeed,” said Chaker Zeraiki, head of business banking, HSBC Bank Middle East, UAE.
“In addition to the already extensive government spend; these opportunities will also increase in the event that the UAE (Dubai) is awarded Expo 2020.”