Dubai is at the start of a new cycle of boom, powered largely by a dynamic private sector, a top official said on Wednesday. Farid Karmostaji, director of Entrepreneur Development Division of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME), said that an increasing number of companies were looking at Dubai as a base, and a good number of franchisors were keen to set up outlets in the emirate. Speaking at the inauguration of Franchise UAE 2012, the third edition of the national franchise and trade Show, he said: “We can feel the new frenzy in the number of new shops opening and malls expanding.” “There is certainly room for more franchisees. Earlier, the concept of franchising was not very clear to some entrepreneurs, but today many local companies are keen to take the franchising route.” He also said that the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development was ready to play a larger role in the development of small businesses by opening the doors to non-Emiratis. He said budding entrepreneurs would be able to take advantage of Dubai SME’s entrepreneurship and business startup courses. He said that the growing size of Franchise UAE exhibition was a proof that the SME sector is vibrant and this is an indicator that Dubai continues to be a preferred destination for entrepreneurs. Mohammad Al Madani, Chairman and CEO, Al Madani Group of Companies, said: “Platforms like Franchise UAE serve to open the doors to new ideas, and complimented the organisers for bringing together successful brands that are suited to the franchising model.” Gaurav Marya, managing director of Franchise Middle East, said: “The participation of 75 exhibitors from all over the world was a proof that Dubai serves as a gateway and a business destination of choice. The earlier era of a handful of mega companies monopolising the franchise industry is being replaced by small and medium players launching franchisees. Another significant development in franchising is the emergence of local brands which are now ready to go global, thus signifying a paradigm shift in franchising business and demonstrating a maturity that was not there a decade ago. The third Franchise UAE trade exhibition is distinguished by substantial participation by home-grown UAE and GCC franchise brands, which are ready for global expansion, as the Middle East franchising sector continues to grow at 27 per cent annually. According to the organisers, 40 per cent of the participating brands are from the UAE, 25 per cent from GCC countries, while the remaining 35 per cent are international.