SHARJAH, 17th September, 2016 (WAM)–The Sharjah FDI Forum, organised by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), in collaboration with Financial Times (FT) and the fDi magazine, will highlight from September 28- 29, the growing stature of SMEs in MENA and global economies, as well as reviewing the best global practices in starting, managing and sponsoring SMEs in the region.

Held under the patronage H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the event, which is set to kick off on 28th September 2016, at Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre in Sharjah, will play an effective role in empowering the SMEs sector by providing an all-inclusive overview about the legislative reality to support this category of projects, inspired by some of the most renowned success stories globally.

“Supporting SMEs in UAE is a result of our wise leadership’s vision that has adopted the policy of economic diversification, and has focused on non-oil sectors as the main source of profitability. As SMEs continue to contribute more than 90% GDPs of many countries across the globe, the UAE has always recognised that this increasingly dynamic sector can strategically integrate its economy to a new circular shift, allowing different emirates and the region to explore, discover and boost a series of sectors that diversify profitability and innovation,” said Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq.

Al Sarkal added, “Sharjah has positioned itself as one of the essential hubs enabling SMEs a successful and practical start to their businesses locally, as well as a vast network for expansion plans regionally. Statistics from the Ministry of Economy indicate that the number of SMEs in the UAE exceeded 350,000 companies this year, representing 94% of the total number of companies operating in the UAE, and offering job opportunities to 86% of the total labour force in the private sector.”

On his part, Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, Director of Sharjah FDI at Shurooq, explained, “According to the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Sharjah-based SMEs constitute 16% of the total number of SMEs in the UAE. This underlines the crucial role that Sharjah plays in supporting these kinds of projects, which constitute a considerable percentage of the overall GDP in the UAE, and key element to its economic diversification, which also continues to project the UAE’s unaffected position by the impact of fluctuations that the global economy is witnessing.”

He added, “SMEs have continuously proven to be one of our major catalysts in Sharjah’s investment growth. The way Sharjah has positioned itself in this sector was tailored specifically to become an attractive business destination for investors, business owners and SMEs, as well as establish itself as a central platform for many start-ups and launches of new industry-leading projects on a local and MENA level. Thanks to these efforts, today Sharjah is home to more than 45,000 SMEs with future projections continuing to show a steady increase.”

Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 will provide an unparalleled opportunity to review investment prospects in the UAE and particularly in Sharjah, as well as potential opportunities in various economic sectors, with the participation of an elite group of decision-makers, officials and economic experts.