Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData celebrate resilient businesses at the 2020 Gulf Capital SME Awards

The Gulf Capital SME Awards saw 300+ entries submitted from 152 organizations across the GCC

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 10 2020 – Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData have awarded the winners of the 9th Gulf Capital SME Awards at a ceremony hosted at Address Downtown, Dubai.

16 unique small and medium sized businesses were celebrated for their contribution to today’s challenging regional economy, while a further 7 businesses were highly commended across categories including Startup Business of the Year, Emirati Business of the Year, Digital Business of the Year and more.  

Celebrating the very best businesses and entrepreneurs from the region, the 2020 Awards received over 300 applications across 17 unique categories. The winner of MasterCard Technology Startup of the Year, BankOnUs, allows UAE residents to compare insurance policies, credit cards, loans, and bank accounts all in one place. The independent panel of judges applauded the startup’s ability to manage consumer pain points by customising information through a bespoke mobile application.

Linen Obsession Textile Trading LLC, winner of the coveted Gulf Capital Business of the Year award, was recognised for its democratic leadership approach that focuses on empowerment, training and equal opportunity for team members. The judges lauded the business for its innovative work, ability to pivot successfully, identifying and plugging gaps, fostering teamwork and incredible customer focus.

Commenting on the accolades, Dr Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital, said: “We are now in our ninth year of supporting SMEs and celebrating their achievements at the Gulf Capital SME Awards. This year, businesses of all sizes were challenged amid the global health crisis. However, we are seeing SMEs navigate through the New Normal by innovating and adapting their business models to survive and prosper in today’s environment. The calibre of entries that we received for this year’s awards is impressive and the strong growth and traction of these SMEs is a testament to their resilience and innovation.”

“I would like to congratulate all the businesses that have been awarded, and I am confident that they will fuel the recovery and progress of the region by continuing to champion growth and innovation.”

“While many companies have found it tough going in 2020, few have faced greater challenges than those operating in the SME sector,“ says MEED editorial director Richard Thompson. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of any economy and the Gulf Capital SME Awards celebrate the resilience and the drive of entrepreneurs and small companies. This year, more than ever, we are delighted to celebrate the best achievements of small and medium-sized businesses in the UAE, who are vital to the long-term success of the region.”

As part of this year’s awards, Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData launched a multi-channel programme of activity to provide SMEs with the information, intelligence and support needed to make efficient business decisions and adapt corporate strategies to achieve success following COVID-19.

The ‘Gulf Capital SME Insights LIVE’ bi-monthly webinars – which started in July and saw over 800 users tune in during a two-month period – discussed topics such as technology, finance, legal, and communications strategies, featuring a panel of industry leaders – including Oracle, IBM, SAP, The Fund – Dubai SME, DTEC, Hub71, startAD, and in5. The webinars addressed the key challenges faced by SMEs in the region and allowed for additional dialogue between participants and individual panellists for further insight and awareness through a virtual roundtable.

The complete list of winners include:

  • Business Innovation of the Year: EVOTEQ
  • Disruption of the Year: Lock&Stock
  • Micro Business of the Year: Fruitful Day
  • Customer Focus of the Year: BELLYBABYMOM
  • Mastercard Technology startup of the year: BankOnUs
  • Startup Business of the Year: IQ fulfillment
  • New Entrepreneur of the Year: Melda Akin /
  • CSR Programme of the Year: The Happy Box
  • Sustainable Business of the Year: ONE MOTO – Electric Vehicles
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Dr. Karen Remo /New Perspective Media Group
  • Emirati Business of the Year: Bait Al Kandora
  • Gulf Capital Business of the Year: Linen Obsession Textile Trading LLC
  • People and Culture of the Year: The Hanging House
  • B2B Small Business of the Year:  Linen Obsession Textile Trading LLC
  • B2C Small Business of the Year: QidZ
  • Business Leader of the Year: Atheeqe Ansari /Electricway
  • Digital Business of the Year: Artsmiley

Gulf Capital SME Awards is supported by Founding partner: Gulf Capital; SME Payments Partner: Mastercard; Association partners: DTEC, in5, She Is Arab, startAD, TiE Dubai; Communications partner: Four Communications; Endorsing partners: Dubai SME, Khalifa Fund For Enterprise Development; Knowledge and Research partner: Diligencia Consulting Limited; Leadership partner: Young Arab Leaders; Strategic partner: Beehive P2P Limited; VVIP Partner –, Linen Obsession Textile Trading LLC; VIP Partner – Ascentia Services, Electric Way, IQ Fulfillment and S.T.E.P

About MEED

MEED is a senior management media brand, its flagship subscription products are the MEED Business Review publication and website, As well as organising the MEED Projects Awards, Gulf Capital SME Awards, Daman Corporate Health Awards and the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).

MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Premium Insight Reports. MEED Projects is the Middle East’s premium project tracking database and MEED Premium Insight Reports offer tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since.   
MEED celebrated its 60th birthday in 2017. From small beginnings in a London flat on 8 March 1957, MEED has grown with the region, to become the Middle East’s most-trusted source of business information.

About Gulf Capital

Gulf Capital is one of the leading alternative asset management firms in the Middle East, investing across several asset classes including Private Equity, Private Debt and Real Estate. The Firm currently manages over AED 9 billion (US$2.5 billion) of assets across 7 funds and investment vehicles. Gulf Capital’s mission is to grow capital and build value with world-class expertise and best practices to generate sustainable superior performance for all stakeholders. It invests its own capital alongside its fund investors’ capital in all of the funds it launches. With its private equity, private debt and real estate initiatives, Gulf Capital is today one of the largest and most diversified alternative asset managers in the Middle East. The Firm has received numerous Middle Eastern and international awards, including “Best Private Equity Firm”, “Best SMEs Credit Fund”, “Best Alternative Asset Management Firm” and “Best Private Debt Provider in the Middle East.

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