Sunday 12, November 2017 by Jessica Combes

SME Beyond Borders Annual Conference held to discuss strategies for the future


The conference was held with the aim to foresee trends that will impact the way we work, live and interact with one another—emphasising on the importance of designing the right strategies that will help change the shape of businesses in the future. 

The event saw the participation of over 800 participants, including more than 35 experts and policy-makers, which gathered to discuss practical approaches to navigating a constantly changing world. The agenda included a lot of interactions throughout the day including a pitching challenge for start-ups called ‘Pitch Please–The Incubator Challenge.’

The conference was headlined by two international keynote speakers–Tanmay Bakshi, the world’s youngest app developer, author, IBM champion for Cloud and Honorary IBM Cloud Adviser, and Theo Priestley, a leading technology evangelist, digital raconteur and futurist.

“I am delighted to be able to share my perspective of what the future will look like. My session was meant to inspire the attendees to think about the future and address strategic readiness to capitalise the opportunities offered by digitalisation and automation in a way that benefits employees, employers and society, as a whole,” said Priestley.

Gina O’Hara Larsen, Co-founder and COO, CPI Business, said that in a rapidly changing global climate, SME Beyond Borders 2017 is a platform to assess what lies ahead for us as business owners. “By providing insightful discussions on digital technologies including artificial intelligence, robotics and IoT, we are preparing local SMEs to thrive in the future economy. We want SMEs to be equipped with the right data to seize the opportunities of the future, rather than being intimidated by it. The UAE has phenomenal leadership, planning and vision for the future and there could be no better place than here to execute technological innovations.”

Karim Idilby, General Manager for Bupa Global Africa, India and the Middle East, said that the SME market research, in which research was conducted with Oman Insurance Company (OIC), shows employee productivity hinges on happiness in the workplace. Taking this into consideration, SME employers need to understand what motivates their workforce to be more productive. “Therefore, together with OIC, we have created a Wellness Quiz which employees and employers can use to define the wellness factors that need to improve in the workplace to drive enhanced happiness, productivity and ultimately bottom lines.”

The event was put together by CPI Business in association with Presenting Partner First Abu Dhabi Bank, Strategic Partner Etisalat Digital, Health and Wellness Partner Bupa Global and OIC, Official Automotive Partners Toyota and Al Futtaim Motors, Innovation Partner SAP, Airline Partner Etihad Airways, SME Loyalty Programme Etihad BusinessConnect, Business Partners FAMCO, Volvo and Hino; Strategic Partners Dubai SME, Rate SME and Al Murad Group; Support Partners Orient Planet Research, Wamda, and Beehive; Official Radio Partner Channel 4 Radio network; Fitness Partner The Cycle Hub; Broadcast Partner CNBC Arabia; and Media Partner Happenize.