With much talk about developing and strengthening SMEs in the MENA region, we often forget that countries across the planet have put that on the top of their priority list as well. That’s why it comes as no surprise that Sweden and the UAE have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will lead to cooperation in R&D endeavors targeting empowering SMEs over a three-year period. The MoU was signed by the UAE Minister of Economy, H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, and Sweden’s Minister of Enterprise and Innovation, H.E. Mikael Damberg during GITEX 2015. The agreement will see SMEs from both countries gain access to funding prospects, as well as discovering new international market opportunities.
We can also expect UAE government departments such as the SMEs Council, the SME Fund, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to collaborate with counterparts in Sweden, including the Swedish Trade and Invest Council and Sweden’s “innovation agency,” known as Vinnova. Sharing knowledge and expertise in two very different markets will be a huge boost for both countries trying to nurture their respective entrepreneurial ecosystems, and will help in the removal of obstacles to SME growth. The two-nation cooperation also hopes to draw academic institutions and the private sector into the core of the effort to bolster SMEs.