Gulf Capital SME Insights, a new digital initiative by Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData, has been launched to support the region’s small and medium enterprises (SME) economy. The digital platform will provide access to invaluable resources and host experts for live discussions on critical topics relevant to SMEs navigating a challenging financial climate amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a statement said.
In their ninth year of supporting and celebrating SMEs, Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData have come together to launch a multi-channel programme of activity to provide SMEs with the information, intelligence and support to make efficient business decisions and adapt corporate strategies to achieve success following Covid-19.
Studying the impact of Covid-19 on the start-up ecosystem across the MENA region, a recent report found that 59 per cent of small businesses said they had already been impacted by the crisis. The same report found that 48 per cent of start-ups surveyed cited revenue generation as a major concern, and 41 per cent foresee lower-than-expected revenue growth rates in 2020.
“SMEs are undoubtedly the backbone of the global economy. The importance of this sector to the GCC economy is no different, with SMEs creating employment opportunities, championing creativity and driving innovation in line with regional economic growth visions. It is essential that we protect our SMEs more than ever due to the catastrophic economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and falling oil prices,” said Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital.
“To support SMEs during this challenging time, we have joined hands with MEED-GlobalData to ensure that the SME community has the necessary foundations to respond, grow and succeed in the New Normal,” he added.
The first webinar in the series of live broadcasts aired on 30 June 2020, featuring industry leaders from Hub 71, IBM, The Camel Soap Factory, and Gulf Capital.
Future editions of the bi-monthly webinar series will cover overarching themes around technology, financial solutions, legal perspectives, and communications strategies, featuring a panel of industry leaders - including Oracle, startAD, and in5, to address the key challenges faced by SMEs in the region. Following the webinar, a virtual roundtable will allow for additional dialogue between participants and individual moderators for further insight and awareness.
The series of virtual sessions will conclude on September 9, 2020 with the Gulf Capital SME Insights Summit. This virtual summit will bring together industry experts and thought leaders to provide valuable insights on the way forward. Following this, an awards reception on December 9, 2020 will be hosted to celebrate the SMEs that have demonstrated outstanding resilience, agility and innovation to sustain and grow their business.
“Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on many small businesses,” said MEED editorial director Richard Thompson. “Lacking the financial reserves of big companies, with limited revenue streams, and dependent on a small pool of key employees and suppliers, SMEs are extremely vulnerable to systemic shocks. After four months of social distancing and lockdowns, many are facing extinction.”
“The SME sector is vital for innovation, new job creation and growth,” said Thompson. “It is imperative that key actors such as governments, banks, landlords, tech companies and others come together to support SMEs in the UAE and the GCC to create a sustainable enterprise eco-system in the region that will help SMEs to thrive in the post-Covid economy."
“Through the Gulf Capital SME Insights, we are providing a platform to support the GCC’s SME sector, helping small businesses to achieve sustainable growth and profitability,” said Thompson. “Over the coming months, this initiative will connect SMEs with prominent companies and investors, and provide them with a wealth of resources for support and inspiration.”—TradeArabia News Service