Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, recently held a training programme for entrepreneurs on the scope of social media in business networking and marketing. The programme also marked the launch of the training calendar of Dubai SME for the year 2012.
“Social media has added a new angle to business outreach and development as one of the most accessible and user-friendly technology to build and maintain productive links. Smart use of this highly interactive window can bring rich rewards to SME owners,” commented Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME.
High internet and mobile penetration and the large youth demographic in the UAE have enabled businesses in the country to use popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as effective channels for marketing and customer outreach.
According to the Arab Social Media Report of the Dubai School of Government, Facebook penetration in the UAE is the highest in the Arab world and among the top 10 in the world. The 15-29 age group constitutes almost 75 per cent of the Facebook users in the Arab world but the UAE is the most balanced in terms of adult and youth presence.
“Dubai SME regularly conducts training and networking programmes to help SMEs build knowledge, relationships and capabilities, which in turn will support them throughout the enterprise life cycle. Social media is a major component of the programmes included in our training calendar for 2012,” added Al Janahi.
Nearly 40 SME owners and entrepreneurs attended the session held at the Business Village in Deira, Dubai. The focus of the programme was on how businesses can use social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn to increase sales and promote brand awareness among the growing community of online consumers.
Participants also learned about re-evaluating their current approach to social media and use of online channels. The trainer combined his presentation with practical tips, planning techniques and individual exercises to ensure full involvement of the participants and enable them to apply their learning directly to their enterprises.
“The emphasis of Dubai SME training programmes on practical application optimises the benefits of such programmes for SMEs and entrepreneurs. Their latest training session has especially been relevant as it taught us that social media can be an efficient marketing interface, which SMEs can easily convert into strong sales and profits irrespective of their size,” said one of the attendees.
Dubai SME will also organise training programmes on ‘Sales techniques’ and ‘Leadership’ in March 2012. The training calendar is designed based on surveys among the SME community and trainee feedbacks from the previous every year.