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Informa Exhibitions launches SME Congress and Expo

04 Nov 2013 11:55

Informa Exhibitions’ inaugural SME Congress and Expo will take place from 16-18 December at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. With the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) as Strategic Partners and the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Nexus as Event Partners, the event has been developed to empower budding entrepreneurs who run or are considering opening their own business.

This new event will support a government drive to grow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by providing an invaluable platform for entrepreneurs to build relationships and do business, while being the premier learning and networking arena for individuals and organizations involved in all types of SMEs. SME Congress and Expo will support the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 of developing SMEs in order to build a sustainable and vibrant economy – by growing this vital section of businesses, helping to diversify the UAE economy (increasing non-oil revenue from around 40% to 60%) and increasing productivity.

It is widely understood that SMEs are a fundamental part of the economic fabric and that they play a crucial role in furthering growth, innovation and prosperity of nations; in most developed economies SMEs represent 60%-70% of employment and more than 50% of GDP. In Abu Dhabi SMEs currently represent around 25% all private sector companies. This relatively low proportion suggests a huge potential for UAE based entrepreneurs to grow the number of SMEs thereby increasing GDP and employment within the region.

Hamad Al Mass, International Economic Relations, Executive Director at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development said “ADDED is delighted to be associated with the SME Congress and Expo as a strategic partner. SMEs are essential to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi achieving its economic diversification and growth goals. We see events such as the SME Congress and Expo as important for SME development, where entrepreneurs and SMEs can learn and interact with others.”

NEXUS Business Services/NEXUS Agencies was set up with the sole purpose of providing a 'one stop shop' for all of a company’s formation needs and services such as, events, delegations and business enhancements for businesses in the UAE and outside.

Souad M. al Hosani, president of Nexus Business Services, said of their Event Partnership. “The SME Congress and Expo is where SMEs from across the Middle East meet to source everything they need to grow their businesses which makes it the ideal platform for Nexus to meet entrepreneur’s wishing to establish their business or who are considering relocating in the United Arab Emirates.”

The SME Congress and Expo will consist of many features including conferences, workshops and seminars. These sessions will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear from government leaders, and industry experts on a variety of issues that are pertinent to business owners, while providing an outlook for all SMEs. Topics covered will include; franchising, sourcing finance, e-commerce, importing/exporting and managing growth. Additionally SME Congress and Expo will give special focus to business development skills, as 61% of UAE based SMEs indicate that these are key areas of importance in creating a sustainable, long lasting business.

Another feature of the event is the exhibition where visiting business people can meet a variety of companies and organizations that are looking to provide solutions to their business needs. Exhibitors will include banks and finance companies eager to offer financing products; government related organizations that will be available to offer support and advice; as well as numerous service suppliers such as ICT, Legal, Accounting and Logistics firms.

Hayete Jemai, Exhibition Director for Informa Exhibitions commented that “obtaining finance has long been a stumbling block for entrepreneurs across the MENA region. A recent World Bank/Union of Arab Banks survey showed that lending to SMEs in the MENA region is only at about 78% while this falls to just 2% in the GCC. Recently however, the relevant government authorities have recognized the need to support the growth of SMEs and have begun a number of measures to encourage an escalation in business formation and development.”

Ms. Jemai continued that “young Emirati’s and expats who attend the event will have the opportunity to receive advice on the funds in place for entrepreneurs, how to start their own business, how to develop a business plan and how to improve the performance of their existing business ventures. They will also have the opportunity to meet and learn from established business people who have established business models.”

SME Congress and Expo is proudly supported by their Strategic Partner, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Event Partners, the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce & Industry and Nexus. Event organizers, Informa Exhibitions have a long tradition of running highly successful events in UAE which help support various government initiatives. These include prominent recruitment events such as Tawdheef and Najah and the industry leading Cityscape and Arab Health events.