U.A.E. was formed from seven emirates in 1971. In the last two decades, U.A.E. has grown to become the second largest economy in Gulf region. Notably, the country’s social and economic pillars have seen tremendous growth in the past decade. Moreover, the country has diversified its economic presence in the region. Key to U.A.E.’s growth has been its focus on programs that support SMEs (MOHESR 2015, p. 1).
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The country has also instituted laws that promote role of women in businesses (Al-Tamimi 2015, p. 1). Although the country’s economy relies on oil and gas export, it has improved its status as a business hub. In fact, Dubai International Airport has overtaken Heathrow as the busiest airport in the world. This paper will explore U.A.E.’s programs for SMEs. Furthermore, the paper will examine efficacy of government programs. Finally, the paper will choose and evaluate one of U.A.E.’s programs for SMEs.
Efficacy is mainly about reducing cost of providing services whilst reaching nearly all people. In this regard, efficacy emphasizes on maximizing output while minimizing input. Government programs should be accessible to all citizens. Efficacy is achieved when programs reach most people with fewer resources. Programs involve rolling out of volumes of services to the public. Therefore, maximizing output ensures availability of services to citizens. Likewise, reducing capital utilized in giving and sustaining provision of services leads to realization of efficacy. In essence, efficacy is measured with regards to amount of money utilized in delivering government programs. This can be weighed against preceding years or against other governments.
Challenges such as instability of global financial systems, ageing citizens and demands from citizens, have caused governments to embark on a process of streamlining their programs. Restructuring is aimed at delivering value for money. For instance, U.A.E. has been tasked with the responsibility of delivering on its 2021 agenda. U.A.E’s 2021 agenda focuses on growing its economy, increasing its global standing, and improving its healthcare. Additionally, the country aims to develop its education programs, augment public safety and support environmental sustainability. Furthermore, the country aims to deliver on its promise of strengthening social programs. Within the country’s programs are specific goals of supporting entrepreneurs to improve efficacy (Bashir, Nasrallah, Suboh & Macmillan 2015, p.13-33).
Small and medium businesses are important in the development of government goals. Small and medium businesses are considered as drivers of economy. In addition, SMEs provide innovation and creativity to the country. In the U.S., small businesses hold more patents than other companies do. The statistics above shows how important small businesses are to the economy of any country. Therefore, government programs that target small businesses are important in helping drive economy (SBA 2011, p. 3).
In the U.S., federal government has intensified its support for small businesses. For instance, federal government initiated online training for small businesses especially in areas where women are underrepresented. The federal government gave more than 30% of contracts to small businesses to promote the country’s economic recovery. This recovery involved matchmaking as well as training events across the country. These programs were aimed at uplifting small businesses. Therefore, this showed that federal government has the ability to meet as well as exceed its initial goal of 23% contracting to small businesses. This initiative also emphasized the efficacy of government programs in promoting small businesses.
Efficiency is an essential component of government restructuring. Moreover, efficacy is an instrumental part of economy. Recent reviews of OECD countries have shown tremendous decrease in efficacy of government programs. This has forced countries to embark on a program of revitalization. Governments are increasingly focusing on ways of addressing efficiency by introducing innovative practices in public service. Nonetheless, there is room for improvement even as governments work to bridge the gap to achieve sustainable efficiency.
In order to achieve efficiency, government programs must be tailored to meet its goals within designated periods. In fact, any government would only achieve efficacy if its programs focus on four main areas. Firstly, the government should emphasize on pursuing innovative practices that are linked to efficacy. Additionally, the government should emphasize on ways of scaling utilization of efficient practices (Kim 2010, p. 1). Furthermore, the government should work to strengthen management incentives that would improve program efficiency. Lastly, the government should advance use of established analytical and measurement tools to improve efficacy of its programs.
U.A.E., which is sometimes called Emirates, is a country on the Persian Gulf. The country is located in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The country shares its sea borders with Iran and Qatar. Based on records from the 2013 statistics, U.A.E. had about 9.2 million people out of which 7.8 million were expatriates. U.A.E. was established in 1971 out of seven emirates that include Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah. U.A.E. has the seventh largest oil reserve in the world. Additionally, U.A.E. has the seventeenth largest gas reserves in the world. Over the past decade, U.A.E. has seen a dramatic rise in its economy.
Moreover, the country’s oil revenues have been steered into infrastructure, healthcare and education, among other sectors. The country’s economy is the most diversified of the countries in the Gulf Cooperation. Its largest City, Dubai, has become a global city. Moreover, the city is considered as an aviation hub. The country relies heavily on its oil and gas exploits. The country’s economy is second only to Saudi Arabia in the G.C.C. The country’s economy has multiplied more than 231 times since independence. In fact, World Bank ranks U.A.E. as the 31st business destination globally. Given its programs, U.A.E. is one of the best places in the world to start a business (Iyer 2014, p.1).
U.A.E.’s previous government strategy between the years 2011 and 2013 highlighted its commitment to SMEs. In its competitive knowledge economy, the government committed to support SME development through its programs. In this regard, it created a proper legislative environment, which stimulated and promoted SMEs. In addition, the government created programs, which were aimed at promoting entrepreneurial mindsets (U.A.E.C 2012, p. 13). Currently, the country has a robust plan of delivering on its 2021 agenda.
The government has laid out strategies of achieving agenda 2021 through sustainable development. One of the programs run in U.A.E. to help business owners is Khalifa fund. Khalifa fund is a government-funded program that was established to help stimulate local entrepreneurship. The fund is to a tune of more than AED 500 million. It provides various incentives to entrepreneurs that include 7-year interest free loans. In addition, it provides advisory and training. Moreover, the program also provides after-funding support, which ensures that entrepreneurs are guided through the process of starting and running their businesses.
In addition, the government of Abu Dhabi supports business owners through its program called Twofour54. This program combines various services to entrepreneurs who are focused on media. It provides funding, incubation, production facility as well as business services. This program is aimed at making Abu Dhabi a hub for content creation in all media. Besides, Abu Dhabi aims to become global player in content creation. Other government programs include Mohammed bin Rashid establishment for Young Business Leaders (MRYBL). MRYBL funds young entrepreneurs; in addition, it provides incubation and training to develop SMEs.
This program is mainly focused on Emirati-owned businesses although it is planning to expand it for expatriates. The fund requires that founders be Emirati who spend not less than 70% of their time at the offices. Another government-funded program is the Intilaq scheme, which is managed by Dubai government. This program is open to Emirati SME network, which includes women. The program enables businesses to operate from home since it eliminates need for commercial lease for micro enterprises. Additionally, the department of economic development has a program that promotes scaling up of small enterprises. It does this by providing business training and counseling. Other programs include entrepreneurship awards and women entrepreneurs program, among others.
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The chosen program
U.A.E provides numerous programs that target growth of SMEs. It is worth noting that most of the programs are essential to business owners. This happens because most programs offer incentives and funding that guarantees success of businesses. Among the programs provided, Khalifa fund seems best since it provides adequate incentives for success of businesses. Khalifa fund is the chosen government program since it guarantees sustainability of businesses. Khalifa fund gives a 7-year interest free loan; this is commendable as compared to other programs around the world. Besides, Khalifa fund gives advisory and training services freely to business owners. Furthermore, the program provides after-funding support that secures future of businesses (Khalifafund 2015, p. 1).
In contrast, some government programs are less useful since they have many restrictions. For instance, the program called Twofour54, which focuses mainly on funding media programs, is less useful to most business owners. This program would be less useful to entrepreneurs who have other business ideas apart from those related to creation of media content.
The program therefore sidelines entrepreneurs with genuine but different innovative ideas. Moreover, it focuses mainly on Abu Dhabi, this makes it isolating with regards to regional balance. Moreover, the program is less interesting to most business owners except those interested in media. Besides, the program would be less helpful to my business, which focuses on security of electronic gadgets. Therefore, effective government programs should focus on promoting businesses from all the regions of the country since U.A.E. is evaluated as a country.
Critical analysis of the program chosen with the help of academic source
From the literature review, it is clear that for government to be effective, it must support SMEs. SMEs hold the highest quantity of patents; this promotes its significance to the country. Moreover, SMEs drive economy since they create employment. Furthermore, SMEs promote innovation and industrial growth. From this perspective, it is observable that supporting SMEs is instrumental in achieving efficacy of government programs. Moreover, supporting SMEs is critical to growth of economy.
Khalifa fund supports SMEs in the best possible manner since it ensures its growth through close monitoring and after-funding support. Its offer of 7-year interest free loan promotes SMEs by giving them adequate time to become profitable before repaying the loans. In addition, its offer of after-funding support is also essential in stimulating local entrepreneurship. With Khalifa funding, businesses have more chances of survival in a competitive business environment. This is made possible by the fact that Khalifa funding helps to oversee growth of the business.
Khalifa fund would suite a wide range of businesses. For instance, long-term businesses would be suited with this fund. Moreover, short-term businesses would be suited with this fund. Khalifa fund would also suit businesses at any time of the season since it gives adequate time for growth. Based on the desired strategies for efficacy, Khalifa program is well suited to support most SMEs to meet government goals. Through the program, the government can offer incentives and promote innovation as part of its initiative to achieve efficacy. It should be noted that two of the government’s strategies for achieving efficacy are innovation and incentives. In essence, Khalifa program supports government’s initiative to improve efficacy (Khalifafund 2015, p. 1).
Discussion of a business to be started
I would consider starting a business in Dubai that deals with tracking of electronics to ensure their security. This kind of business would require a large customer base since payment would be based on subscription. In most cases, I will be involved in tracking lost phones and other electronic gadgets like ipad and laptops, among others. In this innovative venture, I will require two supporting staffs that will assist me with marketing and rolling out of services. In addition, this business would require me to acquire software capable of tracking these gadgets without creating security problems.
In this regard, I will be required to have adequate funds for sustaining the business from its initial stages of development until it becomes profitable. Khalifa fund would therefore come in handy in assisting me through this project as well as in sustaining the business as I look for a large customer base. In addition, its offer to support the business after funding would expedite expansion of the business. Furthermore, it will enable the business to be sustainable through other innovative ideas that will come during the process of training and development. In addition, Khalifa funding would give me adequate funding for starting, incubating and maintaining progress of the venture.
The government represents about 22% of U.A.E.’s economy. This scale of operation is large enough to require efficacy and effectiveness. Efficacy can be achieved through innovation, minimizing of costs, pooling of resources and standardization. These techniques can be integrated in service delivery as well as other government functions. Since most government costs account for close to a quarter of GDP, even small changes can produce great impact. Efficacy of government programs is therefore vital to achievement of government goals. U.A.E.’s 2021 agenda will only be achieved if desired results are realized through its programs. Although efficacy in government has seen a decline, availability of channels for systematic improvements has created ways of bridging the gap. This can be achieved through emphasis on management incentives, innovation, measurement and capability to scale. It is worth noting that SMEs would play a big role in achieving the government’s goal of efficacy.
List of references
Al-Tamimi, E 2015, ‘Securing UAE Women’s Place in the Economic Space’, UAE Interact, 13, Web.
Bashir, R, Nasrallah, K, Suboh, A & Macmillan, P 2015, The Government Summit: Thought Leadership Series, Web.
Iyer, S 2014, ‘It’s Official: Dubai International is World’s Busiest Airport’, The National, Web.
Khalifafund 2015, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Web.
Kim, A 2010, Gauging the Effectiveness of Government Programs, Web.
MOHESR 2015, Higher Education announces innovation and entrepreneurship a mandatory course in all universities in the State, Web.
UAEC 2012, UAE: Government Strategy, Web.