3rd edition of Middle East SME Forum kicks off in Abu Dhabi

SME account for two thirds of non-oil GDPs of region

The 3nd edition of Middle East SME Forum commenced on Monday in Abu Dhabi, gathering SME professionals, entrepreneurs, financial experts, banking professionals and governmental officials who will talk about the drivers of continuous improvement in the SME industry.

Senior VP and Head Business Banking at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) Nilanjan Ray, chairing the summit on day one of this forum at the Rocco Forte Hotels Abu Dhabi, said SME now account for up to 60 per cent of China's GDP and 68 per cent of its total exports to the world.

The keynote speech was presented by the honorary speaker Alexander Haex, VP: Business Development - Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi and Sulaf Saleh Al Zubi, CEO of INJAZ - UAE. The first session titled, "Understanding how the SME Ecosystem works in the Middle East", was addressed by Zia Hussain - Cofounder of Entrepreneurs of Arabia.

Small and medium sized Eenterprises are regarded as an economy's engine of growth and employment, Executive Vice President and Head of Wholesale Banking at ADCB Colin Fraser said.

Statistical data show that SME account for two thirds of non-oil GDPs of the regional countries.

The summit is covering over 20 presentations and will be enriched by five panel discussions on a wide range of topics within the scope of SME in Middle East. Presentations, discussions and case studies will touch on the SME ecosystem in the Middle East environment, challenges and opportunities towards business start ups and also best practices and successful stories in the region's SME sector.

The UAE gives increasing attention to SME sector through initiatives such as Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.

Director of Foreign Trade and Export Support - Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development Dr. Adeeb Mahmoud Al Afeefi shared Abu Dhabi export success stories to inform how exports can contribute to the growth of SME and economic structure.

Opportunities and challenges in developing a small business were discussed by Abdullah Al Jafalli, GM of SHARAKAH Fund For Development of Youth Projects.

Tuesday, day two of the summit, will feature industry leading speakers from Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development, Vantage Holdings, Standard Chartered Bank, Souq.com, Souq.com and others.


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