Dubai SME on Monday launched the ‘SME Friendliness Index’ that will help enable banks to access 230,000 SMEs in the UAE and realise up to Dh6 billion SME financing revenue opportunity.
The index is a signalling tool that gives constructive feedback to banks about how their SME strategies are actually working, , according to Dubai SME-the agency of the Department of Economic Development mandated to develop the SME sector.
Banks know the satisfaction of their customers with reference to their competitors and identify how their product, pricing, communication and relationship management strategy are working.
“The ‘SME Friendliness Index’ is a benchmarking exercise to understand the factors that enable financial relations of banks and SMEs. This signaling exercise helps banks, the supply side, understand the SME customers, the demand side,” Dubai SME chief executive officer Abdul Baset Al Janahi told reporters at a news conference.
Janahi said Dubai SME will also launch a website www.bebankable.ae in September 2012 that will help SMEs become prepared for banking. The index is also accompanied with an SME Tool Box that will enable the banks develop their strategies to serve the SME market. Outlining the challenges of banks dealing with SMEs, the study says these are: access to credit history, quality of financial reports, weak financial discipline, operating history, inadequate security, quality of cash flow management, and short-term planning.
On the other hand SMEs issues with banks are: no guidance from banks, too much paperwork, price, security/collateral, time to obtain credit, and don’t understand my business. The index is based upon a six-month research that requested over 30,000 SMEs for their feedback, engaged with 487 SMEs, and 21 banks. The research involved interviews, questionnaire responses, and mystery shopping.
“Dubai SME intends to work closely with the banks to support them use the study finding and the Friendliness indicator to realise the SME opportunity,” Al Janahi said. Dubai SME intends to do this study every two years to support banks who are key stakeholders in the development of the SME sector of Dubai and UAE, he added.
Dubai SME will leverage the findings of the study to create further platforms and partnerships as part of its efforts to create a vibrant ecosystem that supports local SMEs and entrepreneurs contribute to the Dubai and UAE economy.
The DED agency is engaging with the auditing community to support this initiative. Dubai SME is also seeking to reenergise the existing business mortgage register,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, chief executive officer of Dubai SME.