Dubai: Just Falafel was awarded the top rank in the Dubai SME 100 on Wednesday, jumping up from 49 just last year.

“While the ranking of Just Falafel was 49 last year, we were very happy, and it actually gave us the incentive to improve our ranking. We worked hard on it for the last 12 months,” said Fadi Malas, CEO of Just Falafel.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) yesterday recognised the emirate’s top 100 small and medium enterprises at a ceremony at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The event was attended by Shaikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, top government officials and a huge gathering of entrepreneurs from Dubai’s SMEs.

Malas said that Just Falafel received their recognition for the company’s international orientation and their strategic plan of global exposure. Today, they have over 500 franchises worldwide. “We sell our franchising from California to Australia and we receive a minimum of 100 requests daily for the Just Falafel franchise.”

Malas said their corporate governance and growth rate as well as their experienced human resources contributed to bag the top ranking.

More than 3,000 SMEs applied for the award, which where evaluated on innovation, human capital development, international orientation and corporate governance. Out of 100 SMEs, 26 are in the service industry, 60 in trading, and 14 in the manufacturing business. According to business size, five of top 100 SMEs are micro, 59 are small and 36 are medium businesses.

“Dubai SMEs today represent 95 per cent of all firms registered in Dubai, 42 per cent of the labour force and 40 per cent of the emirate’s GDP. Therefore, this sector has a critical role in achieving and fostering overall development across diverse economic sectors,” said Sami Al Qamzi, Director General, Department of Economic Development.

Based on industry averages, the net output of the applicant SMEs is estimated at about Dh53.3 billion and their total value-add at Dh16.2 billion. The net combined turnover exceeds Dh4.5 billion for the top 100 SMEs employing more than 7,000.

Tobias Bessone, General Manager of WAVETEC, the second-ranked SME, said that Dubai SME 100 seeks to inspire willing and able SMEs with the potential to be world-class enterprises, and investing in innovation and people to sustain their growth.

He also added that this ranking will also serve as a tool to enhance the business environment in Dubai as well as to energise competition between the local and international businesses in the market.”

“Seeking a rank was very useful to our business, as today we are exporting our product from Dubai to Europe.”

Getting the third rank means more challenges and strong incentive to the business overall, said Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, Chairman of Index Holding. “This recognition increases our responsibilities as well as adding more challenges for me and the staff.”

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME, an agency of the DED, said the agency will launch two new initiatives for entrepreneurs in the first quarter of 2014 called the Dubai Start-up 100 and the Dubai High Growth 50. These initiatives will involve grading 100 start-ups and the top 50 of them being given relevant upgrading and growth opportunities that suit their needs, aspirations and growth potential.

Figures

100 SMEs

Turnover Dh 4.5 billion

Employment 7000

Sector wise —26 service, 60 trade, 14 manufacturing

Size —5 micro, 59 small, 36 medium

– 95% of Dubai companies are SMEs

– 42% of Dubai’s labor force are in the SMEs sector

– SMEs contribution in Dubai’s GDP is 40%

source: Gulfnews