Sunday 05, March 2017 by Jessica Combes

UBF and EEA to host seminar on SME-Bank relationship

More than 100 Emirati entrepreneurs will attend a seminar discussion hosted and organised by the Emirati Entrepreneurs Association (EEA), in partnership with the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) on 12 March 2017.

More than 100 Emirati entrepreneurs will attend a seminar discussion hosted and organised by the Emirati Entrepreneurs Association (EEA), in partnership with the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) on 12 March 2017.

The seminar entitled, “Entrepreneurs and Banks”, is being organised as part of ongoing efforts by UBF and EEA to support Emirati entrepreneurs and will address key issues and challenges facing them. HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UBF, will preside over the event and also guide and advise participating entrepreneurs on the best ways to build and maintain strong relationships with banks.

“SMEs make a vital contribution to our economy and are important drivers of job creation, exports and new business models. They also represent a significant source of innovation and entrepreneurial talent. Bridging the finance gap for the SME sector has become more important than ever in the current economic environment and, as the representative body for banks operating in the country, we believe it is our responsibility to connect Emirati entrepreneurs to the information and resources they need to access formal financing. This will help unlock their untapped potential and allow them to play an even larger role in driving national economic growth and employment generation,” said HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair.

SMEs comprise more than 90 per cent of all active companies in the UAE, contributing 40 per cent to the country’s GDP. SMEs account for 86 per cent of the workforce in the private sector, and the government is looking to raise the SME sector’s contribution to the economy to 70 per cent by 2021.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with the Emirati Entrepreneurs Association on this important initiative, and we look forward to building on our shared commitment toward supporting UAE national entrepreneurs by hosting more such events” Al Ghurair added.

Access to traditional forms of finance is one of the challenges to business growth for the SME sector in the UAE. In line with UBF objective, the federation has been in coordination with the Central Bank, government bodies and other stakeholders to help and support the SME sector.

“There is tremendous entrepreneurial energy among Emirati nationals, particularly the youth. Our objective in hosting events such as this is to offer practical guidance to UAE national entrepreneurs that will improve their competitiveness, increase their relevance to the banking industry, and equip them to meet the challenges of an increasingly digitalized marketplace,” Al Ghurair added.

span>The open discussion seeks to create greater awareness among UAE national entrepreneurs about new policy measures while providing them with valuable insights on how to overcome their funding issues and build meaningful relationships with banks and financial institutions.  

“Supporting and promoting entrepreneurship among the UAE society have always been among our top objectives. Such events, with the contribution of key figures from leading industries, will not only foster awareness on entrepreneurship role in leveraging the national economy, but will also provide a platform for sharing and exchanging experiences. In a step to aid overcome financial challenges facing entrepreneurs’ projects, the premier industry event will identify solutions to bridge and strengthen the relationship between entrepreneurs and banks, and to further enhance the Role of Banks in Supporting the Entrepreneurship,” said Jassim Al Bastaki, Secretary-General of Emirati Entrepreneurs Association.

Al Bastaki added that given the dominant reliance of entrepreneurs on personal financing sources to launch their businesses, the seminar discussion is set to provide financing solutions and act as a catalyst to promote creativity, innovation and diversity in the range of business projects the new generation of entrepreneurs are coming up with.



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