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Cisco hosts Select SME partners in UAE

Cisco announces more support for SME-focused partners, awards best performing partners

Cisco is increasing its focus on SMEs and its SME-focused Select partners, says Jones.
Cisco is increasing its focus on SMEs and its SME-focused Select partners, says Jones.

Cisco has hosted its UAE SMB channel partners, at its second annual Select Partner Summit in Dubai.

The event brought together partners from the Select scheme, along with authorized distributors and Cisco executives, plus industry experts, to discuss the potential of the SME sector in the UAE and Cisco's plans for the Select program.

Claire Jones, Cisco's regional manager for the UAE commented: "This is an opportunity for us to meet up with our Select Partners in the UAE and give them some feedback and advice on how the economy is looking for the SME segment, we give them an update on what Cisco doing from a UAE SME perspective, what is Cisco doing globally to support our SME partners through programs and promotions, and finally to thank and award our Select partners for the business which they have given to us for the past 12 months.

There are around 120 partners in the Select program in the UAE, and Cisco used the event, held at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, to announce additional support for Select partners under three pillars, ‘engage', ‘transform' and ‘grow'.

Jones said that Cisco would be funding additional training for its Select partners, to provide free sales master, technology and professional training; would be offering a 2% back end rebate for companies, and rewards and incentives for companies and individual salespersons in partner organizations to incentivize the channel, and would develop co-funded marketing campaigns with Select partners, in order to improve Cisco's reach into the SME space.

Cisco also announced a new program, Grant to Grow, which is being drive by its authorized distributors in the UAE, Comstor, Logicom and Track. Under the program, which is intended to build partner skills over the long term, partners can submit a simple business proposal based on gaining certifications and specialisations, to Cisco via the distributors. Cisco will select the best partners and enroll them in the scheme, and once the partners have qualified for the agreed upon certifications, they will be refunded the cost.

Participating partners also accrue points for gaining certifications, and the top ten point-scoring organisations will be award Cisco marketing packages, to drive business based on their capabilities.

The event also included a guest speaker Dr Eesa Bastaki, CEO of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority ICT Fund, who discussed the UAE government's plans to drive the SME market.

The Dubai Economic Department reports that there are over 200,000 SMEs in the UAE, which contribute 85% of the total employment in the country, and 46% of the overall GDP. It is a segment that has proven lucrative to Cisco, said Jones.

"Even during the economic downturn, it was the SMEs that sustained the economy, even in the UAE. We didn't see a dip in our business in that SME segment during the economy downturn," she said.

Wayne Hull, Cisco's director and general manager for the UAE added: "A significant economic force in the UAE lies across small and medium-sized enterprises. This event is a demonstration of Cisco's commitment to our partners and the SME sector in the UAE and contributes to  Cisco's roadmap for developing and strengthening industries, fostering entrepreneurship, improving SMB competitiveness, and increasing management capabilities and ICT skills which delivers on Cisco's vision in connecting the UAE."

The event concluded with the presentation of the Cisco Select Partner Summit UAE 2011 Awards, to recognize the best performing partners of the year. The award for Highest Revenue of the year went to Cell Information Technology, while the Highest Small Business Revenue award was won by Fujisoft Technology. Highest Reach to SME end users was awarded to Seven Seas; while PC Centre took Best Competitive Win. The Best Service Partner Award went to Raqmiyay, Best Advanced Specialized Parter Award was won by Site Technology, and Rajeev Pemmaiah from Spantec Solutions was appointed as the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.