(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Small and medium enterprises, or SMEs, have become a vital cog to the growth of the UAE economy, contributing 60 per cent of the national GDP in 2011, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy
This figure represents a 100 per cent increase from 2010, when the Ministry of Foreign Trade's economic bulletin reported that the SME sector in the UAE contributed 30 per cent of the GDP.
Recognising the invaluable economic input of businesses in the SME sector, the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards seek to honour the top performing SMEs whose outstanding business performance and innovations have contributed to the growth and robustness of the UAE economy. Since accepting nominations a month ago, hundreds of registered businesses in the UAE have so far entered the awards.
For its inaugural edition, the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards will hand out recognition in 11 categories, including Gulf Capital Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Emirati Business of the Year, Online Business of the Year, and Start-Up Business of the Year.
Individual business owners and exceptional leaders will also be honoured in two categories: Entrepreneur of the Year and Business Leader of the Year; while special awards will be handed out in the following categories: Sustainable Initiative of the Year, Customer Focus of the Year, Business Innovation of the Year and People & Culture of the Year.
Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative investment firms in the Middle East, which recently launched a 300 million credit and mezzanine fund to meet the financing needs of fast growing companies in the Middle East and Turkey, signed up as headline sponsor of SMEinfo Awards as part of its strategy to support top performing SMEs.
"The SMEinfo Awards programme has very strong resonance with our ongoing initiatives to support and invest in fast growing companies in our region.
Our established private equity fund and our recently launched credit and mezzanine fund have been providing growth capital and support to numerous promising SMEs in the region," Gulf Capital CEO Dr Karim El Solh said.
"The Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards are intended to recognise excellence and achievements in the SME arena and to encourage entrepreneurs to continue in their quest to build great businesses. Sometimes it only takes a spark, such as a recognition, to spur SMEs to aspire for greatness and to accelerate their growth. This is what we hope to achieve in our support of the SMEinfo Awards."
"We have been overwhelmed with the response from the SME community on entering the inaugural Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards. Entries are being received from a wide variety of sectors, including manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, hospitality, media, architecture, technology and the service industries. Our judging panel will have some difficult decisions to make on who will make it through to the shortlist," said Becky Crayman, head of awards of the Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards.