Mastercard and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have formed a partnership aimed at promoting the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE by digitizing their payment processes. The collaboration aims to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to unlock their growth opportunities by utilizing the advanced technologies and resources offered by Mastercard. This will also be achieved by leveraging the newly introduced ADGM SME financing platform known as Numou.
As part of this collaboration, Mastercard and ADGM will offer SME cards to eligible businesses. Moreover, these cards will be issued in collaboration with local banking partners and will provide SMEs with a seamless and secure method of managing their business expenses.
In addition to the card offerings, small businesses will have the opportunity to participate in Mastercard’s SME business education program. Furthermore, eligible businesses may receive support through Start Path, Mastercard’s renowned global startup engagement program, which offers later-stage fintech startups access to a wide range of fintech resources to facilitate rapid growth.
Fostering a strong SME ecosystem in the UAE
Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, CEO of ADGM Registration Authority (RA) said, “At ADGM, our partnership with Mastercard aims to drive digital transformation in the thriving SME sector of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. It will allow us to provide SMEs with a curated value proposition that meets the full spectrum of their requirements so that business owners can focus on developing their offerings and pursuing new opportunities.”
“We look forward to facilitating seamless business and operation management for SMEs while paving the way for sustained growth in the SME segment,” AL Mazrouei added.
Backbone of the economy
J.K. Khalil, cluster general manager, MENA East at Mastercard, emphasized the importance of SMEs as the backbone of the economy. Khalil stated that Mastercard is dedicated to promoting financial inclusion and aims to bring 50 million micro, small, and medium enterprises worldwide into the digital economy by 2025. He highlighted Mastercard’s commitment to connecting small business owners with the necessary tools, training, secure payment solutions, capital access, and digital capabilities wherever they are located. Khalil expressed enthusiasm about partnering with ADGM to facilitate the growth and prosperity of UAE’s SMEs.
SMEs embracing digital payment solutions
The transition to a digital economy in the UAE is gathering momentum, with SMEs increasingly adopting digital payment solutions. However, Mastercard’s research on SMEs’ preferences reveals that many of them are discouraged from using dedicated business payment solutions and instead rely on personal banking products. This is often due to high fees, usability challenges, and the fact that some SMEs do not meet the criteria for mainstream business banking services. The majority of SMEs worldwide still make their payments through cumbersome bank transfers (59 percent), while a significant portion (51 percent) prefer to use cash, which poses risks. In addition, Mastercard aims to address these issues by offering innovative and tailored solutions that cater to the specific needs of SMEs, positioning them to diversify and expand their operations effectively.
Key drivers of economic diversification
SMEs play a crucial role in driving economic diversification and digital transformation in the UAE. Furthermore, government data indicates that SMEs contribute 63.5 percent to the nation’s non-oil GDP. The number of SMEs in the country is projected to reach one million by 2030.
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