Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME

Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy, the educational arm of Dubai SME, has demonstrated a remarkable level of resilience and digital readiness following the precautionary measures against COVID-19 in the UAE. Offering a series of training, consultancy and crisis management programmes remotely for entrepreneurs and startups, the Academy contributed significantly to the comprehensive support package of Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, during the pandemic alert.

Altogether, the Academy provided 21 training programmes and 10 consultancy sessions, all remotely, on topics as diverse as effective crisis management, cost control, e-Commerce, sales & marketing tactics and virtual project management during April-May 2020.  

The Academy utilised varied digital platforms, including Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and webinars to allow convenient access to its programmes at reduced costs. Overall, the remote programmes attracted 1495 participants. A social media campaign under the theme #Stay_Strong was also launched to spread positivity among the SME community through inspirational videos and sessions with well-known speakers, influencers and entrepreneurs from the UAE as well as from Singapore, Jordan and Kuwait

“Dubai SME and its institutions are keen to extend financial, advisory and knowledge support to help the startups and entrepreneurs overcome this unprecedented crisis. The Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy leveraged its resources, partnerships, and online channels to offer survival tips for SMEs and enable them to maintain their focus on project development and business continuity,” commented Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.

“In fact, the crisis brought forward an opportunity for the Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy to prove not only its crisis preparedness but also its future readiness. The Academy is keeping pace with the smart transformation happening in Dubai, and having its resources and services successfully migrated to a digital platform will further strengthen its position as an innovative learning resource and enabler for start-ups and future entrepreneurs,” added Ibtihal Al Naji, Director, Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy.

Four of the online training programmes and seven consultancy sessions offered by the Academy were in partnership with the National SME Programme. A consultancy session was also offered in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council and a special programme on ‘How to design and present an innovative business model’ was also held for the students at GEMS Modern Academy Dubai.

Inspirational experiences and survival tips shared on the social media covered the importance of maintaining a healthy attitude, digital reputation for entrepreneurs, ways to reduce operating expenses and effective e-Commerce. One of the webinars shared the Dubai experience on ‘Engaging staff and customers during COVID-19’ while another one heard the Singapore experience on ‘Business continuity amid COVID-19.’