The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has launched the Abu Dhabi SME Champion programme to enable mSMEs to identify and increase their share of procurement opportunities from private large companies and government related entities (GREs).

The Abu Dhabi SME Champion programme will equip mSME’s with relevant skills to expand capabilities via various training and mentorship programmes to ensure their readiness to compete professionally in procurement and scale up their businesses to play a greater role in Abu Dhabi’s economy.

It will also cooperate with large companies and GREs to raise their awareness of mSMEs’ capabilities as trusted suppliers and creating SME champions within their entities to drive forward the programme’s objectives.

An acceleration programme to upskill mSMEs through a customised delivery model, Abu Dhabi SME Champion is an outcome of studies and consultations done by the SME Sector at ADDED to bridge gaps identified in the ecosystem, including a lack of capabilities, understanding, and communication channels to enhance mSMEs’ partnership with large companies and GREs.

Four large companies and GREs, Etihad Aviation Group, Aldar Properties, Emirates Steel Arkan Group, and Ittihad Papermill, have committed to participate in the programme by offering procurement opportunities of AED30 million (AED7.5 million each) to be awarded to selected mSMEs in the first phase of the programme.

They will also nominate specialised teams to coordinate and work with the selected mSMEs on workshops and trainings as well as selecting qualified mSMEs. Future cohorts will see more large companies and GREs joining the programme to support Abu Dhabi mSME.

His Excellency Sameh Al Qubaisi, Director General of Economic Affairs at ADDED, said “Abu Dhabi is focusing on developing a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy. To this end, we champion SMEs and start-ups as drivers of a vibrant, private sector-led economy. Abu Dhabi SME Champion is a proactive, innovative programme to complement other initiatives and schemes aiming to enhance the role of mSME in the economy.

“We are pleased to partner with leading firms in launching this programme and honoured by the commitment of elite large companies and GREs. This will immensely help in supporting mSMEs to benefit from ample opportunities provided by our robust, resilient, and business-friendly ecosystem to expand and contribute positively to sustainable development.”

Mouza Al Nasri, Executive Director of SMEs Sector at ADDED, has signed partnership agreements with Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Chief of Human Resources of Etihad Aviation Group, Adel AlBreki, Chief Executive Officer at Aldar Projects, Jasem Al Khateri, Chief Human Capital Officer of Emirates Steel Arkan Group, and Abdullah AlKhateeb, General Manager of Ittihad Papermill, to join the programme and support the SME ecosystem.

Mouza Obaid Al Nasri, said: “SMEs is one of the vital sectors in Abu Dhabi’s economy; it makes up over 90 per cent of businesses, employs 39 per cent of workforce, and contributes 32 per cent of non-oil GDP. Based on global metrics, we believe there are huge potentials to further develop the sector.

“As part of our efforts to ensure continuous improvement, we have studied the main factors to support SMEs and enhance its role. The Abu Dhabi SME Champion is part of our efforts to provide suitable environment for mSMEs to enhance its role in the diversification strategy by increasing non-oil GDP and creating jobs.”

The Abu Dhabi SME Champion programme is under ADDED’s SMEs Sector. LCs, GREs and mSMEs interested to join the programme can contact