MEED, the region’s leading business intelligence organization, is proud to announce the opening of entries for its SME Awards 2022. Recognized as the UAE’s pre-eminent small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) awards event, interested SMEs have until 26 August to submit their nominations.
There are 17 categories to enter, including the prestigious SME Business of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Emirati Business of the Year, and FedEx Start-Up Business of the Year, as well as awards across a range of sectors such as fintech, edutech and technology.
This year will be the 11th edition of the SME Awards. Last year’s winners included one-stop gourmet food shop Hayawiia, which won FedEx Start-Up Business of the Year; Entrepreneur of the Year Mohammed Absi Halabi, founder, and CEO of e-commerce fulfillment and delivery business Swftbox; and online rewards points firm PointCheckout awarded Disruptor of the Year.
The development of SMEs is a government priority, as shown by recent initiatives to support and promote the sector. These include the National SME Programme to develop general frameworks and guidelines; the establishment of the UAE SME Council to create strategic plans and policies for the sector; and the launch of Operation 300bn, under which Emirates Development Bank will contribute to financing 13,500 SMEs.
“The MEED SME Awards 2022 is the most illustrious SME awards event in the calendar, having received more than 1,000 entries over the past decade,” says Sonia Kerrigan, Group Commercial Director at MEED.
“According to government data, there were 350,000 active SMEs in the UAE in 2020, representing more than 94% of all companies in the economy. Collectively, they employ some 86% of the private sector labor force and comprise over 60% of the total GDP. It’s therefore important for all of us to acknowledge and celebrate the tremendous contribution they make.
“To underline this, MEED is launching two new elements to support our community,” adds Kerrigan. “Each finalist will receive feedback from their live judging sessions, and our winners will be offered the chance to engage with a mentor – a member of the business community with the skills, knowledge, and experience to help support ongoing success.”
Nominations to any category of the SME Awards 2022 are free, with entrants welcome from any sector. Entries will be assessed by a 30-strong panel of independent judges looking at broad business metrics such as financial performance, employee development, corporate culture, innovation, expansion and strategy.
Esteemed judges this year include Dr. Hamed Ali Al-Hashemi, Advisor and Digital Health Programme Lead at the Abu Dhabi Department of Health; Dr. Essam Disi, Director of Strategy and Policy at Dubai SME; Khalifa AlJaziri, AlShehhi, Advisor, Commercial Affairs Regulatory Sector at the Ministry of Economy and co-founder of the Dubai Blockchain Center and Smart IoT; and Salah Makkouk, Senior Director at Careem Incubator.
Finalists for each category will be announced on 19 September, while the winners will be revealed at the Awards reception on 9 November 2022.