SMEs have become essential engines of growth contributing significantly to Bahrain’s economy and comprise a significant 92% of the market. However, although SMEs are recognized as the backbone of most economies, they continue to face significant challenges that impede their productivity, efficiency and competitiveness. To address these challenges and focus on empowering this sector, the Bahrain International SMEs Empowerment Conference was held on the 5th and 6th of February 2014 under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Hassan Abdulla Fakhro, Bahrain’s Minister of Industry & Commerce.
The first day of the event featured a networking reception, awards ceremony and presentations by successful business personalities such as Dr. Akbar Jaffari – Chief Executive of Jafcon Consultancy, Professor Amer Al Roubaie – Dean at Ahlia University and Laudy Lahdo, Servcorp’s General Manager in the Middle East.
Lahdo delivered a compelling presentation on ‘Empowering SMEs with Smart Business Solutions’. The presentation addressed the current challenges faced by SMEs in Bahrain and the Middle East region such as technology constraints, access to global markets, rise in operating costs and insufficient cash flow. Lahdo then proceeded to explain how Servcorp’s virtual and serviced office solutions can empower SMEs and help them overcome these challenges.
Lahdo commented “SMEs in Bahrain are a key asset to Bahrain’s national reform initiative as they contributed nearly 30% of the nominal GDP and provided jobs for nearly 73% of private sector employees in 2013.”
The dynamic theme of ‘Empowerment of SMEs in a knowledge based economy’ explored the influence of Information Communications Technology as well as current globalization patterns on SMEs and how best to optimize their performance, sustained survival and success. It highlighted how SMEs can navigate the business world’s complex government policies, financial institutions, infrastructural issues and competitive innovation landscape. Attendees included senior representatives from government and public organizations involved with SME’s, entrepreneurs along with social and economic societies.
Dr. Fakhro affirmed that the Industry and Commerce Ministry will continue to work together with its partners to provide SMEs with simpler business set up processes and increased transparency in regulations.