Thursday 11, May 2017 by Jessica Combes

Increasing our reach across the GCC

 

Every now and then, you meet someone who goes above and beyond, and amazing things start to happen.

About a year ago, I met with a PR to discuss  Finance Middle East, and potential features to which his clients could contribute. It started as the standard PR/journalist ‘meeting over a coffee’ that I’d done countless times before.

He had done his research though and he asked me about FinanceME’s coverage of the GCC and we discussed certain challenges of reaching out to PRs and businesses outside the UAE. He then casually asked me if I’d ever covered Bahraini businesses–again, only as and when someone could put me in touch with them, but those encounters were few and far between.

“Why not come to Bahrain? I’m sure we could arrange it.”

I remember thinking that while that would be lovely, I wasn’t going to hold my breath on that actually happening, certainly not any time soon.

To his credit he sent constant emails and reminders and follow ups. He was determined to get the trip to happen and I had to admire his tenacity.

Almost a year later, and suddenly within the space of a month, meetings, interview wish lists were compiled, and the media trip is booked. I fly to Bahrain next week for three days’ worth of back-to-back interviews with Bahraini business owners and professionals.

Taking the obvious excitement of traveling to a new destination out of the equation, I’m excited about the prospect of seeing another part of the GCC. VAT, which will come into effect on 1 January 2018 is a huge consideration for all businesses and I can’t wait to hear what the sentiment is in Bahrain.

The SME sector is getting a tremendous amount of Government support and it’s going to be fantastic to speak to a few SME owners first-hand about their own set of challenges and how they are being addressed.

This is a really exciting opportunity for the magazine, because there was always a plan to feature more GCC businesses and focus on the differing business landscapes.