Expo 2020 Dubai awards USD1.8 billion in contracts to SMEs

Expo 2020 Dubai awarded AED6.8 billion (c. USD1.8 billion) of contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), more than a quarter of all Expo 2020 Dubai contracts in terms of value. The total represented a significant contribution to a vital sector of Dubai’s economy and exceeded a commitment made in 2016 to award at least 20% of all direct and indirect spend to SMEs.

Of the 3,245 suppliers awarded Expo 2020 Dubai contracts, 66% (2,150) were SMEs, with 64% (1,390) of these comprising domestic SMEs, reflecting the strength of UAE-based enterprises and supporting the UAE’s wider drive towards a thriving private sector and more resilient economy.

The majority of the 760 overseas SME suppliers hailed from the UK (24%), the US (16%), France (4%), India (4%) and Australia (4%). Overall, suppliers from outside the UAE were sourced from 94 countries, indicative of the World Expo’s global reach and impact.

“Our commitment to SMEs has been embedded into our planning since the very beginning of our World Expo journey to support and empower SMEs – the lifeblood of economies across the world, including the UAE, where they are an important driver of economic growth and a vital source of job creation,” said Expo 2020 Dubai Chief Financial Officer and Deputy CEO Mukhtar Safi.

“The integration of SMEs into the delivery of what has been a truly exceptional World Expo will be an important part of Expo’s legacy for the UAE and wider region, stimulating employment, strengthening existing industries, enhancing SME competitiveness and ultimately contributing to sustainable economic growth.”

SMEs played a key role in the success of Expo 2020 Dubai, which awarded AED1.06 billion to UAE-based SMEs in 2021 alone. Of this, AED161.7 million in contracts were awarded to Dubai SMEs, strengthening Dubai’s Government Procurement Programme, which requires UAE government entities and establishments where the government holds equity of 25% or more to allocate 10% of their purchasing to Emirati firms that are members of Dubai SME – part of the Department of Economic Development that provides support, information and outreach for the growing SME sector.

The Expo 2020 Dubai procurement process itself was based on three principles – Simplicity, Transparency and Inclusivity – allowing business of all sizes to do business with Expo 2020 Dubai as easily and competitively as possible.

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