The Ministry of Economy, UAE and Dubai Chamber, which is the key local partner for Google’s “ Grow Stronger with Google” programme, discussed digital transformation in the sector Small and medium enterprise, yesterday, during a webinar in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises.

The virtual seminar was in line with the launch of the “Grow Stronger With Google” program, which aims to accelerate economic recovery in the Middle East and North Africa region through digital transformation by providing digital tools, training programs, mentorship, and partnerships to support local companies and job seekers. The program will focus on local companies in the retail and tourism sectors and Dubai Chamber is Google’s main partner in the UAE within this advanced program to support SMEs.

His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, spoke about the need to continue investing in modern technologies to enhance the effectiveness of responding to the repercussions of the pandemic. He stressed the vital role of technology in accelerating the pace of economic recovery and restoring momentum in various sectors, especially retail sales, tourism, and hospitality services.

This came during His Excellency’s participation in a webinar organized by Google yesterday on digital transformation in the SME sector which also saw the participation of His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Karan Bhatia, Vice President &  Head of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, and Mona Ataya, CEO Mumzworld.

During the panel discussion, His Excellency further added that “The challenges that the world faces today have proven that investing in technology, innovation, and digital transformation is no longer an option, but rather has become imperative to ensure the continuity of competitiveness. There is no doubt that the post-Covid-19 scene will not be like earlier times and the speed of adapting to the new reality will be a key factor in accelerating the pace of recovery of economies globally and returning to the path of growth.

He also remarked on how Governments and the private sector provide virtual channels of coordination and communication at a time when direct communication is difficult due to the preventive measures in place. “In this context, we would like to commend the partnerships between government agencies in the UAE and global technology leaders such as Google, as these partnerships and initiatives contribute to increasing the resilience of the national economy, its ability to keep pace with rapid developments, and support the business community by providing it with digital tools and training programs that facilitate adopting a digital transformation approach.”

In turn, His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown companies the importance of investing in creating a digital infrastructure appropriate to the requirements of the market and customers. digital transformation has become a basic pillar in the future of business, considering that the use of effective digital tools such as online search, analytics, e-commerce platforms, social media, digital marketing, mobile applications enhances the ability of companies to easily and seamlessly reach a wide range of customers.
Buamim pointed out that SMEs in the UAE are fortunate to work in a sophisticated business environment that offers a world-class digital infrastructure that stimulates growth and innovation in the business world.

He stressed that the Covid-19 crisis has produced a new generation of entrepreneurs who have used these challenges to create broad digital solutions for many private sector companies, noting that the crisis has also attracted additional interest by emerging companies from India, China, and Africa to come to Dubai and establish the business in it due to its advanced infrastructure.

Buamim highlighted that emerging enterprises and SMEs formed the first line of defense in providing appropriate solutions to the business sector, and today, alongside the government’s efforts, are leading the process of digital transformation and establishing the country’s position as a global destination for digital innovations in the business community.

He further pointed out that the partnership with Google to enhance the digital presence of Chamber members has resulted in more than 100,000 companies in Dubai benefiting from this initiative. “Additionally, today we aim to introduce at least 50,000 new companies to the advantages and benefits of digital transformation that have become essential in a demanding and highly competitive business environment,” he remarked.

The President and CEO of Dubai Chamber stressed the important role that emerging enterprises and small and medium-sized companies will play in supporting the economic recovery of the UAE and promoting its full transformation into a digital economy, emphasising the rise of an increasing number of emerging companies specializing in the fields of financial technology, medical care technology, education, e-commerce, sustainability, supply and distribution network, and others.

Karan Bhatia, VP, and Head of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google, said: “Online tools and digital skills for everyone will be a catalyst for the comeback. Through ‘Grow Stronger with Google’, we’re pledging to help one million businesses and individuals in MENA learn digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021. Together with governments and local partners, whose contribution to the economy can have a profound impact, we’ll build on the rapid acceleration of tech adoption we’ve seen during the crisis.”

Small and medium enterprises form the backbone of the UAE economy, accounting for more than 95% of the total number of companies operating in the country. The spread of the Covid-19 has shown that technology plays a fundamental role in helping individuals, companies and societies achieve what was once impossible. It has been evident that the rapid adoption of technology by economies has helped accelerate their post-pandemic recovery.

As the UAE enters the economic recovery phase, there is an increased responsibility to embrace digital transformation and turn it into a fundamental pillar of this economic recovery plan for all types of companies across all sectors.

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