During the recent UAE Economic Forum, Dubai SME, an agency of Dubai Economy, put forward a report which stated that nearly 50 percent of Dubai’s GDP was contributed by SMEs. SMEs were also reported to employ up to 52 percent of the total workforce in the emirate. The report also states that the SMEs in Dubai represent 99.2 percent of the number of establishments in the emirate.
The total number of SME establishments in Dubai is estimated at 151,875 and has registered a 9 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) since 2008. Micro firms account for around 61 percent of the total business count in Dubai, followed by SME firms, which account for 36 percent and 2 percent respectively.
Based on the information from the latest report, the Dubai SME sector contributes an estimated Dh199.6 billion (US$54.3 billion) to the gross value-add (GVA) of the Dubai economy. This translates to about a 51 percent contribution to the economy. The most pronounced change in terms of segment contribution is in terms of Medium enterprises whose GVA contribution has gone up from 17 per cent in 2008 to 28 per cent in 2017.
With regards to employment and job creation, Dubai’s SME sector employs around 1.41 million workers. This translates to a net employment contribution of 56 percent to the Dubai economy. The total number of employees in the sector has grown by a CAGR of 6.4 percent between 2008 and 2017. The amount of proportionate employment contribution increased by 14 percent over the same period.
Compared to 2008, the proportionate employment contribution of firms across each of the SME size categories has gone up and is most pronounced in the case of small firms, whose contribution has gone up from 15 per cent in 2008 to 33 per cent in 2017.
Workforce productivity is calculated as an economic aggregate based on the estimation of gross value add per employee. As such, Dubai’s SME sector is estimated at Dh147,467 (US$41,146); around 0.9 times the average productivity of large companies.