Expo 2020 Dubai and Dubai SME have teamed up to host a workshop aimed at supporting the UAE’s small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in winning the contracts to make licensed products for Expo 2020 Dubai.
Expo 2020 officials believe that this is the chance for SMEs to raise their profile, build their capacity and demonstrate their capabilities on a global stage. As a result, they are working with supporters, including Dubai SME, to make SMEs aware of the opportunities available to them and provide guidance on how to make the most of this chance. Dubai SME is the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
This week’s workshops for SMEs by Expo and Dubai SME are the latest in a series of initiatives by Expo organisers targeted at supporting small and medium-sized businesses. Last year Expo 2020 announced that 20% of its budget would be spent with SMEs, equivalent to more than AED5 billion in business.
Visitors to the UAE will have the chance to buy an expected 5,000 types of Expo-branded products, the first of which will be on sale before the end of this year.
Organisers of Expo are looking for companies to become licensees giving them the right to produce goods that will be sold to millions of visitors expected during the six months of Expo 2020, as well as online, and at dedicated stores across the UAE.
Najeeb Al-Ali, Executive Director Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, explained why organisers were so focussed on helping SMEs become licensees. “This is Expo 2020 Dubai. It’s the first global event on this scale to be held in the UAE and the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa, or South Asia.
“We want our Expo to have a rich sense of Emirati culture and heritage. And UAE-based SMEs are uniquely placed to enable us to achieve this. We are here to support them, and help them to thrive and work collaboratively to make the most of this opportunity.”
Britt Ludvigsen, who leads Expo 2020’s SME integration, added, “SMEs thrive on creativity, agility and innovation. The UAE has a rich and diverse SME sector that is hungry to help us find and develop products or ideas that are truly made in the UAE.”
Marwan Al Nasser, Senior Government Procurement Manager at Dubai SME, welcomed the initiative from Expo 2020 Dubai.
“SMEs represent almost 95 percent of the total number of companies operating in the UAE, and contribute 60 percent to the nation’s GDP. Their role in supporting economic growth and employment is vital. Supporting their development is a priority for Dubai, and the UAE in general, as part of our ongoing transformation into a knowledge-based economy.
“Expo’s Merchandising & Licensing Programme is a great opportunity for SMEs to strengthen their product offering, develop their network, and expand their scope to reach new global audiences.
“We have been working with Expo 2020 Dubai to make it easier than ever for SMEs to get involved. Expo has put in place flexible commercial terms to ensure that there will be equal opportunities for companies of all sizes.”
Expo operates an entirely online procurement system with potential suppliers using it to register their interest. So far, 7,958 SMEs have signed up as potential suppliers for Expo, two-thirds of the total. These SMEs come from 121 countries – the top three are Italy, with 267 SMEs registered, the UK with 300, and the UAE, with more than 6,000.
Anita Chandler, Expo 2020’s Director of Licensing, described the sort of products she hoped SMEs could produce, and explained how they could get involved.
“World Expos are a celebration of ideas, innovation and culture. Our licensed products will reflect that, and there will be something for everyone, whether it’s artisanal food, an indoor-farming kit, or an authentically Arabian products like traditional jewellery,’ she said.
“We will be launching tenders for different types of products on a rolling basis in February and March, and throughout the rest of 2017 and into 2018. People interested in becoming licensees can register on our eSourcing Portal (esource.expo2020dubai.ae) to learn about the latest opportunities. “2017 is going to be busy as we move ahead, identifying licensees and developing product lines that will appear in stores across the UAE before the end of this year. Expo 2020 merchandise will make great gifts,” she added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –