Scaling up MENA SMEs

How a handful of firms can fast-forward economic growth

The public and private sectors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been developing programs to catalyze the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including startups.

One segment deserving particular attention is “scale-ups.” These are SMEs with proven business models that are undergoing a rapid growth phase. Scale-ups represent around 5 percent of SMEs, can be from any sector and of any age and their founders have the potential to contribute significantly to the ecosystem they operate within. If provided with the right forms of support, scale-ups can grow rapidly and have a significant economic impact.

The scale-ups ecosystem in the MENA

Our “scale-ups readiness index” measures the maturity of the scale-ups ecosystems in key MENA countries.

Explore the scale-ups ecosystem in the MENA region using the drop-down menu below. Choose a country to learn more about its scale-ups ecosystem readiness.

1) SMEs are companies with 10 to 250 FTEs

Leading initiatives to develop the scale-ups ecosystem (2018)

Several countries have recognized the economic value of scale-ups. Their governments and private sector are developing tailored policies and programs for them.

Choose a country to learn more about the private- and public-sector-led initiatives to develop the scale-ups ecosystem.

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom

The Netherlands




A central coordination to orchestrate these efforts

To reap these rewards, each MENA country will benefit from a central champion of the scale-ups strategy. It could be a private- or a government-sponsored entity. The main role of the champion will be to define, oversee, advocate, and sustain the scale-ups ecosystem.

The team should be relatively small and nimble. Its success depends on mobilizing an ecosystem of private and public players to orchestrate growth initiatives.

A central coordination to orchestrate these efforts

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Mahmoud Makki

Mahmoud Makki

Partner, Strategy& Middle East

Melissa Rizk

Melissa Rizk

Senior Fellow, Ideation Center, Strategy& Middle East

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