Audited by Morison Menon and concisely evaluated by our judging panel, all the finalists in each category went through a rigorous process. We take a look at the 22 winners from the awards and provide an insight into what gave them the edge over their fellow finalists.
The SME support partners is the only section of the awards that allowed inclusion of large enterprises, since it is the larger businesses that often pave the way in providing fast and efficient solutions for SMEs.
Winner: Xeratek Document Solutions.
Xeratex Document Solutions consistently offer the most comprehensive portfolio of Xerox solutions, which include products that copy, print, scan and fax as well as stand-alone copiers, either full colour or black and white, along with the complete portfolio of Xerox genuine supplies.
Transportation and logistics
Winner: First Flight Couriers (Middle East).
First Flight Couriers provide exactly what their name suggests- a courier service, but with the added with clear core values to satisfy the needs of individuals and organisations that made them clear winners. They are fast emerging as one of the most cost effective and reliable courier companies in the Middle East.
ICT support and services
du has made a clear and defined plan to integrate the needs of SMEs into their mobile and office based services. Ultimately it was their firm commitment to assisting the SME sector through their tailor made cost effective price plans that pushed them over the finish line in top spot.
Banking and finance
Winner: Al Rostamani International Exchange
Al Rostamani International Exchange has been providing foreign exchange services in the UAE for nearly three decades. Even with the recent harsh economic climate this company has persevered with a dynamic forward thinking core of services and successfully developed scalable projects that have potential growth.
Winner: Hayati Healthcare
Hayati Healthcare was the first ever patient financing company to offer medical loans throughout the UAE and the entire Middle East. They allow patients to pay convenient and affordable repayments over time, instead of paying ‘up-front’ cash prior to healthcare treatments, enabling patients to get the surgery they need, when they want it.
Our next section of the awards deals with business functions. Within this we dedicated particular attention to three areas which we felt deserved recognition for both their cutting edge business approach and invaluable contribution to the growth of the SME sector.
Effective financial implementation
Winner: Al Rostamani International Exchange
For the second time this company were deserved winners. They have made a clear commitment during these tough few years to touch on the lives of the people in the UAE and beyond, putting the customer to the forefront of their priorities whilst carefully implementing a thorough financial services plan.
Incredibly innovative approach
Winner: Heels & Deals
A company that strives to create a global network for female entrepreneurs, Heels & Deals proved a very popular winner amongst the audience with a huge applause being given. Despite the traditional difficulties for business woman enthusiasts in the region, Heels & Deals have successfully fostered a stronger female presence in the SME entrepreneurial arena.
Best technology implementation
Winner: Sage Software Middle East
It was a clear definable commitment to the SME sector that won the award for Sage. As a global vendor of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software, they are used by over 19,000 medium and large organisations. This solutions powerhouse continues year in and year out to provide SMEs with the tools needed to both maintain and grow their businesses.
The Industry achievement categories proved to be the most challenging in terms of trying to condense all the nominations into smaller groups of contenders. There were so many impressive entries and in the end it took much deliberation before finally deciding on the winners.
Winner: Petrotech Enterprises
Providing the connection to global engineering products and inventory, technical support, fabrication and engineering and design, Petrotech showed a clear ability to service supply needs at any multiple manufacturing or processing locations across the Middle East. They also demonstrated the know how to provide customers with engineered solutions and services.
Hospitality and tourism
Winner: Meat co, and Ribs and Rumps
From their humble beginnings over 16 years ago in Manly, one of Sydney’s most popular seaside destinations, this winning company has gone international with its much sought after delicious dishes! As part of a new philanthropic initiative of the FoodFund Foundation, Meat co, they donate money towards charities within the local communities within which they operate.
Winners: Coffee Planet
Already the leading provider of specialty grade coffees in the Middle East, since 2005 they have provided a ground breaking model for the coffee industry in the region and continue to develop holistic coffee solutions, delivering the product from the source to the end consumer.
Media and marketing
Winner: Flying Elephant Parties
This company has developed a reputation as one of the Middle East region’s leading supplier of corporate and family entertainment, providing a variety of products and services to facilitate all types of events and activities. They consistently maintain and fulfil their client’s requirements, and design unique concepts to meet their customer’s budgets.
Winner: The biz Group
The biz Group is an UAE based business consulting firm consisting of companies specialising in corporate training, teambuilding and business strategy. The business was launched in 2010 in a move to align the businesses, encourage cross promotion of services and facilitate regional expansion. The CEO of Biz Group, Hazel Jackson, is the Past President of the UAE Chapter of the global Entrepreneur’s Organisation (EO).
Health and wellness
Winner: Gulf Healthcare
Gulf Healthcare International is owned by the private equity fund managed by Global Capital Management. GHI’s assets include Medsol, the region’s leading clinical pathology provider, which operates a total of fifteen branded laboratories (including independent and hospital facilities) across the Middle East and North Africa.
Technology and online
Winner: Sage Software Middle East
Sage has continued to launch the newest ERP solutions for mid-sized businesses in the Middle East. Built around the customer to place emphasis on ease of use, their innovative solutions focus on cost and time savings and customer experience improvement.
Winner: Ocean Rubber Factory
Acknowledged to be the biggest technical products’ manufacturing units in the Middle East, Ocean Rubber Factory has weathered the economic storm and persevered in supplying products ranging from bearing pads and expansion joints for bridges and earth-quake resistant buildings, to track pads for armoured vehicles.
Construction and real estate
Winner: Shifra Smart Homes
Since 2005 Shifra Smart Homes has led the way in installing multi-media pad control systems for homes, with anything from lighting and security to air conditioning and multi-room audio. Key to their success is their ability to continuously develop their services to match the changing lifestyles of customers as well as the technologies they use.
Green business of the year
Winner: WaterWise Car Wash
Very uniquely specialising in the waterless technology for cleaning vehicles, WaterWise Car Wash uses only 100% environmentally safe products for their car wash service. Operating their services exclusively in the Malls, hotels, residential towers and commercial buildings, they have cleverly given their customers more time to enjoy their pleasurable pursuits while a service is being performed.
Admirable woman entrepreneur
Winner: Tala Badri, Centre for Musical Arts
Born and educated in Dubai, at the age of seventeen Tala was awarded a full scholarship by the Government of Dubai to study music at Royal Holloway, University of London and became and still is the only female Emirati music graduate.
In 2005, Tala established CMA and is still working towards developing a purpose built facility for CMA to finally realise her dream of having a fully functional music school in Dubai.
Emirati entrepreneur of the year
Winner: Centre for Musical Arts
The Centre for Musical Arts (CMA) is a non profit making organisation set up in 2005 with a vision to develop and enhance the existing musical community initially in Dubai, but more importantly to make the musical experience available to the wider audience through its teaching programs, concerts, recitals and workshops.
The one to watch (best new business)
Go.Nabit.com are a UAE-based marketing business that sources exciting products and services from local businesses at great discounts, creating value for our users, and customer creation for the business. They connect their subscribers (called “Nabbers”) to cool stuff they can do in their city each day.
Business star of the year
Winner: Ethos Consultancy
Ethos Consultancy has developed a range of customer service products and solutions that help clients achieve a competitive advantage in the field of service quality. Ethos helps its clients intensify the customer experience, reinforce ongoing customer loyalty and maintain healthy profitable growth.
Before joining SME Advisor as an Assistant Editor in 2010 I obtained a Bachelors Civil Law Degree (Hons) from the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, in 2005. I worked as a trainee lawyer in Dublin, Ireland, specialising in defence litigation and criminal law before obtaining a Masters in International Journalism from the University of Cardiff in 2009. At present I am the Editor of SME Advisor Middle East, which is a publication within the CPI Business Group. You can follow me on twitter: @mikey_byrne or @SMEadvisorME. Also, you can join me on Linkedin (Mike Byrne) or at (SME Advisor).