Launching a business isn't for the faint of heart.
According to the Small Business Administration in the US, seven out of 10 new businesses survive their first two years. But only half make it to five years, a third see out 10 years and only one quarter will reach 15 years.
Although the portrait may vary around the world, there is no doubt that starting a business is a risky proposition, especially if you're taking the plunge in a foreign country. With this challenge in mind, Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB) is offering a special promotion until February 28, for its Smart Business program (www.smartbusiness.ae), an online operating system that allows clients to manage the complex intricacies of entrepreneurship in one easy-to-use portal.
The program, which can be accessed from any computer with internet access, allows clients to perform a wide range of banking transactions, such as payroll processing, bulk payments, local and international telegraphic transfers and access to account statements.
It integrates bills and transactions with national departments - including Dewa and Etisalat, for example - through a single, efficient account.
And if the client signs up for the service by the end of the promotion period, EIB will waive the first month's Dh200 subscription fee and the one-time set-up cost of Dh200. "Taking this approach allows our customers to manage their financial transactions with confidence and ease, allowing them to focus on their core business," says Faisal Aqil, the general manager of retail banking for EIB.
"All industries have gone through some challenging economic times over the last 18 months and we're committed to developing and creating the best possible ways to help their business flourish."
The service is also available with other banks, including Emirates NBD, but EIB is the only institution offering a promotional discount. Meanwhile, if the business carries an average balance of Dh10 million, the bank will permanently waive the monthly subscription fee.
To help assist Smart Business clients, EIB provides technical and set-up support so small-business owners and their employees are familiar with the system. According to EIB, the service comes with innovative security and control features that enable customers to complete transactions online with confidence.
Security includes a 128-bit SSL data encryption; or in other words, it's controlled through a subscriber ID, user ID and a password.
The owner of the business can actually set authorisation tiers within the program, giving certain employees within the company limited or unlimited access to information.
There is also a tracker providing the financial history of the company, making the transactions transparent and traceable, and all users can receive e-mail notifications whenever there is activity on the account.