New Abu Dhabi event aims to back SMEs
Abu Dhabi, October 31, 2013
A new event has been launched in Abu Dhabi to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East to expand, as more than half of registered SMEs in the GCC lack access to additional funding to support their growing businesses.
According to the ‘Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Mena’ report, supported by the Shell Foundation and Citi Foundation, 54 per cent of GCC based SMEs require between $50,000 - $150,000 in funding to meet the needs of their growing businesses, while only 45 per cent of those that have sought funding are successful in obtaining additional credit lines.
The SME Congress & Expo, taking place from December 16 to 18 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre will look at the key challenges and solutions facing Middle East and UAE SMEs, which according to the Ministry of Economy, account for 92 per cent of UAE companies, and employ 86 per cent of the private sector workforce.
The report added that a lack of appropriate collateral for SMEs, high interest loan rates, and insufficient business development assistance were the main barriers that hindered SMEs from gaining access to funding from banks and other financial institutions.
Organised by Informa Exhibitions, the inaugural edition of the SME Congress & Expo will address these challenges by providing an important learning platform to help entrepreneurs and SMEs in the region successfully launch, grow and finance their businesses.
The three-day event features a strategic congress and training workshops aimed at helping SME owners navigate the complex landscape of owning and running their own business. A dedicated exhibition floor meanwhile will enable entrepreneurs to meet new partners and suppliers that will help their businesses expand.
Hayete Jemai, exhibition director of SME Congress & Expo, said: “In the UAE and the wider Middle East region, SMEs are the main drivers of job creation, business growth and economic diversification.”
“In the UAE, nearly 300,000 companies can be classified as an SME, and their economic contribution cannot be understated, yet clearly there are still major challenges ahead that need to be overcome so that SMEs can continue to grow and thrive.
“The SME Congress and Expo will support a government drive to grow SMEs by providing an invaluable platform for businesses and organisations to build relationships, while being the premier learning and networking arena for individuals and organisations involved in all types of SME,” he added.
The SME Congress & Expo is held in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
A highlight this year is the Pitch for Investment competition, a unique platform where a shortlist of 10 entrepreneurs and business people will present their ideas and current businesses to a panel of experts during the first two days of the event.
The ultimate winner of the competition will be announced on December 18, with entry deadline set for November 12. Those with an innovative business idea or existing SME can enter the competition by visiting smemiddleeast.com/en/Pitch-for-Investment. – TradeArabia News Service