We are as a nation, living in unprecedented times. Every single person and business will be affected by COVID-19 in some way or another and the SME community around the globe will be one of the most severely affected. What many may not know is that the SME community is a major component of economic growth for the UAE. The contribution of the SME sector to the GDP of the country is constantly growing and SMEs are important for so many economic reasons. Our SMEs play a major role in the creation of employment and are a source of creativity and innovation, developing services and capabilities never available before in the market – so it’s essential that we protect them.


In response to the pandemics effect on the SME community and the overall economy, two SME marketing and communications agencies within the UAE have joined forces, pledging to do all they can to support and save SMEs in the region by using their talents and skillsets. Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, founder of TishTash Marketing and Public Relations and Chloe Ragg, founder of Fox & Hound Digital Communications have come together to create The SME RISE COLLECTIVE a new cluster of professionals that will come together to support SMEs across the UAE by shaking up the traditional PR and marketing model.


Whenever an economic downturn hits, consumers and companies alike become more cautious with their money with marketing and advertising expenses often being the first to be cut. However, what statistics also show, is that continuing to invest in marketing and advertising in a downturn can actually benefit businesses.


Going live on the 13th of April THE SME RISE COLLECTIVE will offer individuals and companies the opportunity to support SMEs by sponsoring marketing packages from a collective of marketing and communications agencies that will ‘pay it forward’ by providing such services to those SMEs that need it most.


The aim of the SME RISE COLLECTIVE is to stimulate the economy, keep the growing entrepreneurial spirit of the UAE alive and ensure that as many SMEs as possible, and their staff, benefit both personally and professionally.


The platform has three sections – “Support”, “Apply” and “Collaborate”. “Support” allows members of the community, individuals and companies to offer their support to local SMEs by sponsoring marketing packages.  Sponsorship can be from as little as AED 100 and by sponsoring a business, sponsors will get the chance to be featured in the Collective’s PR campaign, on the business’ social media platforms and obtain recognition for their patronage.


“Apply” allows SMEs in the UAE to submit an application to be considered for the marketing packages.  SMEs who receive the marketing packages will receive the package that best meets their needs at that time, with a focus on driving awareness, leads and sales when they need it most so they can continue to employ their workforce, pay their suppliers and also support the overall economy.


“Collaborate” invites other marketing and communication agencies and licensed freelancers in the UAE to join the Collective and offer their services once marketing packages are signed off and additional resources are needed to fulfil them.


Talking about this new collective Natasha Hatherall-Shawe said: “We have created this collective for one simple reason, because we believe it has the power to positively impact our communities and businesses in what is a very challenging time.  The SME RISE COLLECTIVE is about supporting in the ongoing survival of our SME community, covering as many salaries as we can, ensuring business continuity and paying forward much needed marketing and advertising services to SMEs who need it”.


Chloe Ragg added “We are really excited about this initiative and having seen so much support for the SMEs across social media over the last month, we are confident that THE SME RISE COLLECTIVE has the power to garner amazing support and make a real change to the economy and the lives of many people across the UAE, because we are all stronger together, as a collective”.


Apply, support or just follow our journey at and @smerisecollective

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