Action Over Policy: Hany Fahmy Aly, Executive Vice President - Enterprise Business, du
Amid calls for corporate entities to play a bigger part in nurturing and scaling the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, here’s one enterprise (which is a household name in the region) that is letting actions reflect its policy on helping startups and SMEs. Besides operating a separate team to provide training and support to its SME suppliers, UAE telco du says it also has a procurement system in place to identify SME partners- a system that it continuously evaluates and improves. To add to that, the company’s recent investment in music streaming service Anghami is also a major step towards growing the culture of the corporate incubation model in the region’s startup ecosystem, which, when done right, can bring great benefits to all stakeholders involved.
“SMEs are drivers of the economy, and a very important business community for any country,” says Hany Fahmy Aly, Executive Vice President - Enterprise Business, du. “In the UAE they account for 90% of all businesses. As such, this community has a variety of communications requirements that differ from the large of government enterprises.” This belief is one of the reasons why du displays its commitment to support SMEs and startups by providing a host of customized products and services that can help fledgling enterprises scale even while keeping a check on their costs. As for measures by which established companies can foster business activity of SMEs and startups, Aly says, “Propositions should focus on addressing removing roadblocks and pain points to let businesses and startups to focus on their core business.” He adds that businesses should “consider the cash flow of SMEs, which often adds strain especially when it comes to large capex spend. For example, at du, we realized that by rolling out installment plans for device and office equipment, we could help SMEs spread the investment/cost out over several years.”
And to prove that du indeed walks the talk, Aly draws attention to its SME-focused offerings. “A number of products and services we offer exclusively to the SME community include the du Business Mobile Plan, which ensures uninterrupted communication and optimum cost-savings by offering free calls with your colleagues and flexible add-ons to meet all your day-to-day business requirements, as well as Broadband Professional, which enables you to improve your business communication and stay in control of your budget with professionally trained consultants available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week– ensuring continuity in service at all times. In addition, we offer Business Connect to provide the best start for a business as it offers unlimited national calls, 1TB cloud storage and access to business emails, as well as a device worth up to AED 3,000, faster broadband, devices, Office 365, 24x7 support and more. To support SMEs in their office set ups, and also empower them to expand and grow, we offer essential business devices including laptops, printers, projectors, etc. with zero upfront cost and installment options for up to 24 months.”
Aly insists that the SME sector is not just a customer group for their business but a vertical that they want to engage with to bring out its best potential. The idea, he explains, is to ensure that growing ventures can focus on running their business and contributing to the economy, while du takes care of their telecommunication needs. “Our goal at du is to provide for all SME communications requirements in a way that is conducive to their business,” Aly explains. “By providing products and services that enable SMEs to enhance their communications and operations, we can directly have a positive impact on their business efficiencies. We continuously work to enhance the services we offer to UAE SMEs, empowering them to grow their businesses as key players in growing our country’s economy.”
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.