Microsoft in collaboration with MAKE Business Hub hosted a panel of experts to discuss how technology innovations can support Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in the UAE. Microsoft joined forces with industry leaders from Dell, du and Dubai Internet City to address the way that technology supports the specific needs of the mobile worker, entrepreneurs, creative freelancers and experienced SMB owners.
Speaking on the panel were Mr. Bruno Delamarre, Small and Medium Solutions and Partners Lead, Microsoft Gulf; Mr. Majed Alsuwaidi, Director Business Development Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone; Mr. Vikram Chadha, Senior Director SME at du and Mr. Basil Ayass, Enterprise Product Manager at Dell.
The topics discussed pivoted around how an SMB can increase profitability or expand into new markets by using technology. Panelists shared examples of initiatives and programs available in the UAE to facilitate SMB setup, enhance growth and help startups to succeed in a competitive environment. Some of Microsoft’s key initiatives include the ‘Tech Makeover’ Competition, the ‘Goodbye Windows XP. Hello Windows 8.’ current campaign, which is encouraging SMBs to welcome cloud technologies like Windows 8, Office 365 and Dynamics. The ‘Keep Your Business Moving’ Program provides free mentorship, product innovation updates to its SMB members and technology, such as Office 365 and subscription-based Office at a reduced rate.
Speaking at the panel, Mr. Bruno Delamarre, Microsoft Gulf, said: “In line with the vision of transforming the UAE into one of the best countries in the world by 2021, Microsoft is dedicated to support the growth of the SMB sector here in the region. We believe that Cloud technology provides SMBs with solutions that reduce cost, enable collaboration and enhance productivity. We work closely with Dubai Internet City, Dell and du, our partners, to offer unique solutions that are accessible to startups and SMBs here in the UAE. We are grateful to our partners for their continued support and commitment to delivering initiatives that support the development of SMBs.”
Majed Al Suwaidi, Director of Business Development Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone said: “DIC is delighted to have partnered with Microsoft, Dell and du for this important and influential industry event. DIC is home to a growing number of SMBs who themselves are expanding across the region. As the UAE’s leading technology enabler, we are determined in our efforts to promote the development of ICT industry and to invest in emerging talent. With about 95% of the businesses in the Middle East comprising SMBs, we are determined to continue supporting entrepreneurial events which engender the growth of the sector industry throughout the region.”
Speaking at the panel on the role that technology plays in an SME’s success, Basil Ayass, Regional Marketing Director, Dell Middle East at Dell stated, “Today, the role technology can play in the success of a business is bigger than ever. Dell’s foundation is built on a spirit of entrepreneurship. We have always believed that Technology has always been about enabling human potential. This is one of the key reasons why Dell has several programs in place and solutions on offer to enable the next generation of entrepreneurs to realize their full potential.”
“Since our inception we have been staunch supporters of the UAE’s entrepreneurs and SMEs, both through our telecom offerings and in our capacity as an enabler. Our vision is to empower SMEs by providing them with complete communications solutions and support, allowing them to concentrate on what is most important to them – growing their business,” said Hatem Bamatraf, Executive Vice President, Enterprise, du.
du’s support of the SME ecosystem comes in myriad forms, through the creation of communications plans specifically tailored to the needs of the SME sector, such as The Entrepreneur Plan, Business Super Plan, Business Super Plan Plus and Her Business Super Plan. Additionally, the company is involved in several initiatives that nurture the entrepreneur community, including a long-term partnership with business incubator Shelter. Other initiatives include ‘The Entrepreneur’, the region’s first reality TV show focusing on entrepreneurs, launched by du in 2012; mentoring and knowledge-sharing programmes with Intelligent SME, Business Insight, Zawya, and Heels and Deals, and the recently-inaugurated The Entrepreneur Forum.
MAKE Business Hub is known to offer a platform of knowledge, which provides the entrepreneurial community with the tools and opportunities to turn their ideas into businesses. Cloud technologies, which are becoming increasingly popular with SMBs, offer the best solutions available today to solve critical issues, such as managing cash flow, cutting costs and increasing sales and productivity. Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Windows are technology solutions that business-class productivity and collaboration for Small and Medium Business organizations.