Mastercard and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have announced a collaboration to fuel the growth of the booming small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE by digitalizing SME payment flows. The partnership will empower SMEs to meet their growth potential through Mastercard’s technologies and resources.
Under the collaboration, Mastercard and ADGM will offer SME cards to qualified businesses. Mastercard and ADGM will work with its local banking partners to issue SME cards, which will offer a seamless and secure way to manage business expenses.
Beyond card offerings, small businesses can also participate in Mastercard’s SME business education program. In addition, where applicable, Mastercard will support relevant businesses through Start Path, its award-winning global startup engagement program that provides later-stage fintech startups with access to the company’s wide fintech portfolio and everything they need to grow quickly.
“At ADGM, we seek to play a prominent role in building a robust SME ecosystem in the UAE and creating a conducive environment for small businesses to succeed. Our partnership with Mastercard 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 witnessing the long-term growth of the SME segment,” said Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief Market Development Officer, ADGM.
“SMEs are the backbone of the economy. In line with our commitment to driving financial inclusion, Mastercard has pledged to bring 50 million micro, small and medium enterprises worldwide into the digital economy by 2025. To achieve our target, we are connecting small business owners to the right tools and training while helping them pay and get paid securely, access capital and go digital wherever they are. We are excited to join forces with ADGM as we enable the UAE’s SMEs to grow and thrive,” said J.K. Khalil, Cluster General Manager, MENA East, Mastercard.
The UAE’s shift to a digital economy continues to accelerate as SMEs increasingly embrace digital payments. However, Mastercard’s research on SME awakening shows that many of them feel discouraged from using business payment solutions, and opt for personal banking products instead. Reasons include high fees, difficulty of use and the fact that some companies are simply not big enough to qualify for mainstream business banking. Almost 60% of SMEs worldwide still make most payments by cumbersome bank transfers (59%), while 51% prefer to use risky cash. To address these issues, Mastercard serves as a trusted provider of innovative solutions tailored to the needs of SMEs, ideally positioning them to diversify and expand.
SMEs are key drivers of economic diversification and digital transformation in the UAE. According to government data, they contribute 63.5% per cent to the nation’s non-oil GDP. The number of SMEs in the country is projected to hit 1 million by 2030.