Sunday 24 January 2021

Sheikha Aynour Hussain

SMEDistrict to host UAE’s biggest SME festival

DUBAI, February 20, 2020

Dubai’s high-potential SMEs, thought-leaders and decision-makers will convene for two weeks for the biggest entrepreneurial festival in the UAE, Dream Station, set to run from February 27 to March 7 at the Meydan Grandstand.

A joint initiative between Meydan One, SMEDistrict, and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One, Dream Station aims to enhance the UAE’s burgeoning SME sector, to open-up new opportunities for business growth, and offer on-the-job business learning.

Dream Station will foster relationships for SMEs with regional and global players in the sector. The event will also see the official launch of SMEDistrict, the new retail incubation programme hosted in exclusive partnership with Meydan One, to provide a 360-ecosystem for emerging entrepreneurs and home-grown concepts within the retail, technology and F&B industry at 80-90 per cent less set-up costs.

Major private-sector and government entities will come together with leading retailers and entrepreneurs to showcase their potentially game-changing initiatives and ideas. SMEs will receive the advisory support they need through panel discussions, partner stands and workshops, as they begin, continue and evolve in their digital transformations.

Adding an element of competition and engagement to the festival, attendees will also catch a glimpse of how the latest movers and shakers in the business world operate. Some 100 local SMEs across the retail and F&B sectors will face off in an intensive 10-day competition, IN IT TO WIN IT, for a prize pool of Dh60,000 ($16,330), to be allocated towards their business development. Three winners will be chosen, based on proven innovation, sustainability, social responsibility, presentation and cumulative sales over the 10-day period to win Dh30,000, Dh20,000 and Dh10,000 respectively.

Sheikha Aynour Hussain, CEO/Founder of SMEDistrict, said: “Our vision is to create a strong network that supports and nurtures the growth of local SMEs. With this new retail incubation programme, we aim to transform local home-grown brands into global businesses in line with the city’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

Mohammad Al Khayat, senior vice president of Meydan Mall and Commercial, said: “In hosting the biggest entrepreneurial festival in the Middle East, in partnership with SMEDistrict and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One, we are supporting Dubai’s ambitions to provide a robust springboard for encouraging entrepreneurial growth in the emirate.”

“Dream Station is set to offer a deep dive into what it takes to start, build and manage a successful business in the region, across the value chain, and provide attendees with new insights and ways of making their business efficient, profitable and meaningful.”

“This new value we are bringing to the sector reflects our commitment to advancing the government’s goal of enhancing the performance of the SME sector, which forms a central pillar of the national and regional economy,” he added.

At the event, visitors will have the opportunity to experience a tour of ‘@’ store, the UAE’s first luxury smart store to be located at Meydan One Mall and see for themselves what a fully immersive shopping experience based on consumer behaviour could be.

SMEs and investors can also discuss investment prospects at a dedicated Investors Lounge. Meticulously designed with interactive tables and equipped with iPADs, the Lounge enables startups to present their profiles in the best light and capture investor interest.

Retail SMEs can benefit from showcasing and selling their latest collections at the Retail Corner that is set to host unique fashion shows, while SMEs in the F&B sector can promote their novel gastronomic concepts over the two weekends of the festival at its workshops and inspiring talks.

Furthermore, the event will host popular artists such as Daffy for the opening ceremony, talented Khaliji hip-hop acts performing English and Arabic hits, and a violinist along with a live DJ, to keep visitors entertained.

The event will coincide with the Meydan horseracing season, across three race nights, February 27 and 29 and conclude on Super Saturday, March 7, marking the official dress rehearsal for the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup. Visitors to Dream Station on these days can also enjoy the thrill of on-track action and stylish race day fashion. – TradeArabia News Service


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